— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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I’m an unavowed fan of Forsman & Bodenfors. While remaning resolutely Swedish in their outlook, their philosophy and output blends digital nous with creative inventiveness and a focus on craft that is hard to beat anywhere in the world. But I find their most recent piece somewhat of a missed opportunity to build a fully integrated digital and film storytelling device. As much because the potential of this idea, is the equal of one of my favorite pieces of creative in the last few years (for the same client; Volvo.) North Kingdom’s ‘Cross Country Travels’ platform.

Leave The World Behind is a collaboration between Volvo and Swedish House Mafia. While not exactly over familiar with Swedish House Mafia’s oeuvre, it’s hard to ignore their international success and place at the center of the exploding EDM movement here in the United States. The collective has now split up to pursue other opportunities (by the sounds of it, Playing MSG to a bunch of bro’s isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – who knew?) Volvo saw an opportunity to create a campaign around this moment, imbuing it with a sense of grandeur and pathos not usually afforded to DJ’s & producers. It’s a smart bit of tactical strategic thinking, placing the brand at the center of a very contemporary piece of culture.

The resultant film – ‘Leave The World Behind’ is a beautifully realized piece that sees the three protagonists go their separate ways and follow their own paths, with help from Volvo’s luxury cars; all soundtracked by a spaced out version of the title track (One of their most famous songs and their ‘breakout’.) Sweden looks suitably epic and sparse, the cinematography giving the film an epic that befits the level of success they enjoyed. It’s part ad, part film, part music video, and it’s great.

But what lets this down is the digital experience. The website (www.leavetheworldbehind.com) has some really nice design touches, and feels immersive and overall well considered, but it also feels like a vessel for video itself, nothing more. It doesn’t contextulise their (or the brands’) story in any way. The journey that the Swedish House Mafia have been on is clearly one of a scale very few performers get to these days (whatever you think of their music.) And ties them closer to the brand than mere ‘Swedishness’. Their significance could be bought to life as a storytelling experience, augmented by avalanche of multimedia that exists around them. User generated and beyond. By ignoring their past in the main interactive piece, it lessens the impact of the film, and creates a disjointed effect. It lessens the drama that the film is trying to elicit. Which itself augments a weak call to action, which seems like a classic case of just sticking a hashtag on something and loosely gathering social sentiment. Whereas it should be generating the very nostalgia that the powers the myth and memory of the band.

You may ask why this is a problem. Well, I’m sure for many, it isn’t, and I might be picking on something disproportionally (which is not my intention.) But it highlights a problem that I’ve been investigating (see tomorrow’s blogpost for more…) of just sticking things ‘on’ the internet as opposed to building things ‘with’ the internet. By avoiding building a digital storytelling experience around this (albeit) beautiful film, we are robbed of the emotional resonance that an interactive, immersive digital experience could bring to the brand and band. What we are left with is an advert that happens to exist on the web, which is a missed opportunity all concerned.

(Via Creativity. )

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Here’s a beautfully executed music video for French Electronica musician Rone. A Collaboration between Rone himself and Filip Piskorzynski, it’s the first in an ongoing journey that has continued with the equally masterful ‘Parade’ video (below). The stand-out element here is the use of stop motion to create a truly strange, but mesmerising effect with actress Natalia Dufraisse, although it does nothing to take away from a beguiling storyline. Matched perfectly to Rone’s shuffling, rolling groove(s), this is sublime marriage of music and visual, and definately one to watch, as this seems to be evolving into a strong and ongoing collaboration between the two.

Here’s ‘Parade’

Check out the interview with Rone and Piskorzynski over at The Creators Project 

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I’ve now seen the Dark Knight Rises twice. While there are no doubt plot holes (as has been pointed out especially well in these Reddit posts including SPOILERS), there visual achievement of the films (especially in IMAX), is unboubted. One of the most underrated elements of the Nolan Batman films, and of course Inception is the sound and music. Hans Zimmer in particular, has created a visceral soundscape that is fast becoming a genre all of it’s own. If indeed you have never heard the Inception soundtrack, then I urge you to watch and listen to it performed live with Johnny Marr on guitar (It’s epic. The music starts around 7.30). This film delves into the thinking and processes for Zimmer and the sound team at large. I love how Zimmer blends analogue and digital elements to create something truly sonically unique.  Well worth a watch.

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Mid-way through 2011, the formation of PARTY was announced. The brainchild of some of Japan’s and New York’s most interesting Interactive Creative Directors, including Masashi Kawamura, (he of SOUR fame), as well as creative from W+K Tokyo, BBH and beyond, it caused quite a stir. (Their inception is covered in far more detail here on Creativity).

With this sort of firepower, their first projects were eagerly awaited. They have not disappointed. I originally had a whole post set up just on the Toyota ‘Fastest Painted Website’ concept, but having seen the newest work for Japanese band Androp; it seems only right to bundle this creativity in one easily digestible morsel.

PARTY is developing quite the folio of work. Blending mystery with storytelling, with online and offline experiences, a commitment to pushing the technology, mashing together business models and shot through with humanity and charm. Their new work for Androp expands on all these themes. “World.Words.Lights.You” is music video/advert, and potential merchandising behemoth. With the cutest robots this side of the Little PrinterThese cute robot types have a dual role. To bring a smile to your face, and a crisp note out of your wallet, as the sale of these robots (on eBay) is what constitutes the revenue stream for the agency. (Note the lack of the word ‘fee’ there). Shifting their model as they go is both smart (I can’t imagine many creatives who wouldn’t want one of those toys), as well as typical of what you would expect from guys as smart and forward thinking as this lot.

All in all, just another reason to follow PARTY closely.

The obligatory ‘making of’ film.

(P.S. This isn’t the first time that PARTY and Androp have collaborated. See ‘Bell’ for further details…)

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It always exciting to discover a creative with a genuinely innovative and distinctive perspective on life. Today, I discovered just such a talent.

Initially alerted to the work of Mr. Boonstra via his collaboration with illustrator Parra for Rimer London (see below), it turns out that he has a rather snazzy array of work, spanning digital commentary, art direction and more. Personal highlights included the RGB experiment (above). Which, well, just have a go yourself. It’s pretty cool.

The whole site itself is worth a poke around. Great stuff indeed.

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One from the vaults that popped up on Twitter today, and boy is it tense! This is the video to Metal On Metal ‘Bastards’, from the ever excellent Glue Society (which, if you have never been on their website, do, because it’s great). There’s not more to say really. Try and watch without gripping the table with stress at the outcome.

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OK Go, nee of the famous treadmill music video have surpassed themselves by creating (in collaboration with James Frost and Syyn Labs) a masterpiece one shot video. If you think you’ve seen it before then you’d be (sort of) right, with the classic ‘Cog’ ad from Wiedens waaay back bearing comparison. This though, is shot through with an unbridled joy and optimism. It’s also a stunning achievement, made all the more satisfying by the ending, by which the hardest soul will struggle not to raise a smile. It also has awards written all over it. Check it out. (and the NYT Op-Ed here)

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