Fuze Brand Works Its Video Tricks, Then Explains It to Death

Youngsters, believe me there really was a time when we just let media bedazzle us and didn't expect to discover precisely how it all was done. Somewhere along the line in the last forty years or so, having backstage knowledge of the media we consume has become just as important as consuming it in the first place. I am sure there is a Ph.D. dissertation to be done on this topic, and I promise I won't write it.

The ratcheting up of digital media effects, especially in 1990s, fueled a lot of this meta-media perspective, and the DVD format makes backstory extras a necessary part of the experience. I am not complaining, mind you. I am a card carrying member of the media geek generation who read every syllable of Jerome Agel's "The Making of Kubrick's 2001" back in the day when a lot of this got started. I am definitely part of the problem. But by the time we get to James Cameron's "Avatar," arguably, the story about the making of the film was more interesting than the film itself - although in my mind Cameron did not set that bar very high.

And now advertising itself catches the "making of" virus. We not only get dazzling new ads on TV and online, we get even longer exegesis of how and why it is done. To wit, the Fuze brand of fruit flavored drink is launching a new cross-platform campaign around offbeat fruit characters meant to highlight the "mix it up" spirit of new recipes that are reintroducing the brand. In order to capture that brand message visually, human puppet characters were shot upside down, with hands working as feet on a ceiling/floor. The topsy-turvy world was inverted and digitally enhanced to add character. The end effect is supposed to be amiably quirky as it defies our expectations of gravity and presents an unexpected flow of movement.

And then we get the four minute video explaining in painstaking detail exactly how they conceived of this grand plan to invest puppets with a mildly odd feel, how much it expressed the campaign message, what a blast it was to work on a concept so hard.

Make no mistake. I have a tremendous amount of respect for creatives of all stripes. I think the act of making flesh a mere cool idea is courageous and necessary. That said, methinks they over-explained this one. The "making of" video made it all sound much more exciting and offbeat than the final product. Maybe I am being too hard on this, but the effect they achieve with all of this upside down business approximates the look and feel of simple marionettes. It makes me wonder if it was worth the fuss.  The ads are pleasant and all, but I am not quite seeing the personality the designers think is built into these characters. 

I am hoping there will be something a little more expressive of the original intention in subsequent spots. After all, the kids looked like they really put their all into this. But do yourself a favor and watch the spots themselves before you absorb the behind-the-scenes piece. The downside of backstage knowledge is that expectations can be too easily raised too high.  
1 comment about "Fuze Brand Works Its Video Tricks, Then Explains It to Death".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, April 5, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.

    This doesn't seem like a particularly useful use of Fuze investment. Fuze clearly falls under the need to build a broad audience.

    But it's a highly targeted audience that can be reached. With this kind of "making of" material for movies - much less "some ad campaign".

    Oh, they might make a social stir. Thats nice. But social stirs are limited just that - a slight stir.

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