Just this November Canada Goose released Out There, a short film also helmed by an Oscar winning director. And Rennaisance Hotel is doing something different. This January they debuted their short film, Business Unusual, declaring their intent to create short films that inspire travel.
This is by no means a new idea: there was Nike for the 2014 World Cup with The Last Game, an animated short with a star-studded lineup of the wold's most famous players. There was Lincoln in 2011 and a series of 8 shorts made by the likes of John Woo and Guy Ritchie for BMW in the early 2000s. We can go all the way back to Apple's 1984, and there's no need to stop there.
These works go beyond classic advertising and promotional spots as we know them. There is often no direct reference to the product – instead they rely on narratives that brands think encapsulate their values. Whether it is extraordinary individuals persevering and challenging their environment, to youthful positivity and a cosmopolitan free spirit – whatever it is, there is a lot of room to play in when trying to engage viewers that are becoming less and less receptive to classic (and crude?) product placement and 30-second TV spots.
How do we feel about advertising and the short film colliding in this manner? I'm not sure I can put myself in any particular camp. On the one hand, we have a subtle encroachment on art by corporate interests, but on the other we get more palatable advertisements. And as anyone who has suffered through enough Youtube ads knows, this is something we can infinitely use more of. Advertising isn't going anywhere after all.