If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then self-imitation is probably the highest form of self-flattery. That seems to be the main takeaway from this Sony U.K. spot promoting the brand's 3-D broadcast of Wimbledon. The ad is a remake of the famous 2005 U.S. Sony Bravia commercial that featured a vivid spectrum of some 250,000 real rubber balls bouncing down San Francisco's iconic hills. This time, it's a bunch of computer-generated, monochromatic tennis balls fake-bouncing down the streets of the English tournament's location and namesake.
Crayon, the agency behind the spot, claims it's a "wonderfully crafted viral film that parodies" the original. Unfortunately, it's neither all that well crafted nor particularly amusing. While it doesn't fail on the latter point for lack of trying—the plastic frog in the new spot alludes to the strange amphibious cameo in the old one—the physics of the tennis balls might have benefited from similar attention to detail, rather than being made to travel in questionable arcs and appearing at times to come more or less out of the camera. (As some commenters have also noted, the music also doesn't quite succeed in mocking the original soundtrack.)
Ultimately, the ad suffers from its self-referential nature, from pushing a sincere value proposition despite calling itself a joke, and by having been long beaten to the punch line by a more genuine parody. Crayon's choice to slap on a tennis-ball-themed online treasure hunt doesn't hurt the creative cause, but it really doesn't help it much, either.
None of this is to say the original Bravia idea wasn't good. It was. And as such, it likely would have been better off had the brand left it alone.
Client: Sony U.K.
Creative Director: Adam Roberts
Editor: Jonny Elwyn
Film Production: Silk Films