We've written before about how technology marketers like to use conspicuously analog props in their advertising, to give the virtual experiences they're selling more of a tangible reality. Google is the best example of this. But Sony has been doing this quite nicely, as well—most notably in last spring's global stop-motion Xperia spot directed by Wes Anderson.
Now, McCann Worldgroup is back with another tactile, homemade effort for the Xperia tablet. The 60-second spot, called "Frames," is breaking now in global markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Shot all in one take by Partizan director Augustus Punch, it features a long camera pullback through what's clearly a warehouse, back through three giant tablet frames that function as stages for the action. The three frames represent the different experiences that the Xperia offers—surfing the Internet, playing games and watching videos. Actors perform little scenes in each one: A guy takes a photo of a dancer and posts it on Facebook; ninjas play a fruit-slashing game (Fruit Ninja is an actual game, it turns out); and most notably, a '60s astronaut saves a woman from a B-movie monster, as a glowing spaceship descends.
The spot certainly maintains the playful vibe of the Anderson ad, and if it's a bit less on the magical side, it likewise doesn't just relate but embodies the notion of technology meeting imagination. The downside of these kinds of spots is that the viewer first has to figure out what's going on, and then how the metaphor relates to the product. This two-step process is more work than a simple product demo would be—see Apple's early iPhone and iPad work for tech advertising that's heavily skewed toward the latter. But there's a richness in the homemade approach that holds up on repeat viewings, and there's something to be said for somewhat more theatrical ad treatments in the tech space.
The tagline casts the Xperia as "a place for your imagination to play." It's a product that lets the agency play, too.
Client: Sony Xperia
Agency: McCann Worldgroup
Co-Chief Creative Officers: Tom Murphy, Sean Bryan
Vice President, Group Creative Director: Mat Bisher
Vice President, Senior Art Director: Vi Luong
Associate Creative Director: Colin Ilsley
Senior Broadcast Producer: Minnie Tran
Vice President, Senior Art Producer: Wendy Leahy
Business Manager: Ken Krausgill
Vice President, Business Partner: Lauren LaValle
Account Supervisor: Michael Tsang
Production Company: Partizan
Director: Augustus Punch
Visual Effects: Framestore
Senior Vice President, Executive Music Producer: Peter Gannon
Music: Kishi Bashi
Sound Design: Joseph Fraioli
Sound Mix: David Wolfe
Editor: John Piccolo
Visual Effects Artist: Tom Leckie
Photographer: Hugh Kretschmer
Retouching: Gloss Postproduction