Big, bold, beautiful … and budget-busting?

Julian Jones
April 22, 2014

Imagine, if you will: 8 million flower petals erupting from a volcano and flooding the streets of a small town in Costa Rica.

Now what if I told you this actually happened? That a company willingly paid a gazillion dollars to collect and dump 3.5 tons of flower petals on a remote town and record it.

Only in TV-land, you say. And right you are.

This is how Sony chose to introduce consumers to its new 4K Ultra HD TV.

Why 8 million petals? Well, that’s the exact number of pixels displayed on the 4K’s screen.

Beautiful? Yes. Unique? Yes. Effective? That all depends on your point of view.

Sony’s stated intent was to demonstrate how the 4K TV delivers ‘four times the detail of full HD TV’. Unfortunately, unless you do as Sony instructs: ‘… watch this at 1080p. Then just imagine it 4x sharper!’, you’re unlikely to really appreciate the screen’s sharpness and clarity.

But that’s probably a bit harsh. Watching 8 million flower petals explode from an active volcano is an impressive sight, even at 144p. And the ad is a technical triumph, especially if they did not use CGI, as is their claim.

The intention behind this larger-than-life ad – as with many TVCs these days – was clearly to achieve that elusive ‘cut-through’ moment with television viewers.

And it probably did. But was this a cost-effective way for them to achieve it? I can only imagine the dollars Sony had to part with for an ‘event’ of these proportions. Most of us will never have a budget like this in our lifetime.

There are, of course, other ways to get a customer’s attention – for a much smaller outlay. Good advertising is limited less by budget and scale than it is by the extent of our own creativity.

But for now, let’s just appreciate a work of advertising art.

Julian Jones is a Senior Designer at Wellmark

The Wellmark team regularly tweets about topics relating to brand strategy and marketing communications. Simply follow the Twitter feed most relevant to your business: @wellmark_corp (corporate communications and annual report design), @wellmark_health (healthcare communications and pharma marketing) or @wellmark_psf (online branding and thought leadership for professional services firms).

‘Rose petal’ image courtesy of Haley8 via Flickr Creative Commons (under the following licence: CC BY 2.0)

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