I'm told that these little Video Critiques of mine make more sense if you watch the clip that they reference, that the opinions contained herein are properly heard (and quickly, mercifully dismissed) in the context of their source material. Today, however, I implore you not to take that fateful step.
I urge you instead to read an informational pamphlet, trim your toenails or gaze upon a willowy tree, or perhaps even a willow itself. Take a run. Take a ride. Hug someone or something you love. But under no circumstances should you waste precious minutes of your finite existence watching Cartier's latest crumb of sponsored video pabulum.
Don't comment on it or reward it with your page views. Don't make direct eye contact or acknowledge its being. You'll only encourage them to make more. Just to be safe, stop reading this column.
Produced by Forbes.com (motto: "slideshows is magics!!") as part of an advertorial/technology/branded contentificationism play I don't quite understand, the mellifluously titled "2012 Cartier Make Your Move, Jeremy Bloom and Ben Lerer" taps Bloom, a former Olympic skier and football star, for advice on skiing and football. No, check that – it asks him about founding an ad business, a task for which his special-teams play leaves him singularly qualified. This business has something to do with media consolidation via a single interface and "operational efficiency." The concept is more unique than salmon spawning behavior and Tom Waits' voice combined.
But he doesn't talk about the workings of the business. No, to quote the Cartier and Forbes press materials, this particular iteration of "Make Your Move" focuses on "entrepreneurs musing about their inspirations and epiphanies," and doing so while flashing a little Cartier-watch-bearing wrist. The problem is that, at least in this first volley, the conversation participants share little that is inspirational or, uh, epiphanic.
They trade in generalities of the worst, vaguest sort, with questions like "what's your greatest weakness?" eliciting responses like "knowing to be really stern and when to be nice and compassionate." That kind of advice won't strike junior deputies in the middle school "Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs, Today!" club, much less the Forbes.com audience, as remotely useful or enlightening.
The clip starts off with a brief Bloom bio, which details his NCAA headaches and showcases his winning way with a button-up sweater. After a breezy, empty 2:05, that's that… until the autoplay kicks us into a second installment, in which interviewer and Thrillist.com prexy Lerer asks Bloom how he is able to "put the fear aside and just execute," as if building a business has something in common with carpeting a haunted basement. Just over three minutes later, we're done… until another clip auto-follows, which gives Bloom the opportunity to ask Lerer - a successful entrepreneur who should probably be doing the question-answering here - a few dippy queries of his own.
Happily, Lerer wrests back control of the interview for a final insightful volley. "What are the three traits anybody needs to be successful?," he asks, prompting Bloom to respond, "To never give up, to never give up and to never give up." It is lost on the two participants that Bloom listed only a single trait. Somewhere in the land of make-believe, Woody Boyd nods knowingly.
So there's your sponsored seven minutes and 14 seconds of nothing. Bloom bastardizes his celebrity and backstory by using it to clumsily segue into his big-thinkin' thoughts ("don't ever let fear get in your way of becoming great"), while Lerer doesn't exactly make a case as the next big crossover business personality. But does Cartier get the plugs for which it paid? O happy day - it does, thanks to an amazing coincidence: The interviewer wears his watch on his left wrist, while the interviewee wears his watch on his right one. That means both can face the camera simultaneously.
That attention to detail - that the clipmakers factored handedness into their casting/participatory decisions, or had the sense to ask one of the participants to switch watch wrists - is the most impressive aspect of "2012 Cartier Make Your Move, Jeremy Bloom and Ben Lerer." Between this and its last branded video offering, Cartier really needs to self-impose an online time-out.