I’m sure by now we all are familiar with what machinima is, or at least have seen it’s most popular representative, red vs. blue. If not, go take a look. This new coke spot from the brilliant dudes smith and foulkes(responsible for Honda ‘hate somethin’ and the motorala movie rabbit) over at nexus is interesting. It lives somewhere between the category of machinima and animation. It isn’t machinima simply because it obviously wasn’t created with an actual game engine, which is basically the definition of machinima, but it borrows the characteristics and quirks of game play from most of todays more popular games, specifically grand theft auto. What’s interesting is that those characteristics were utilized in a way that made the piece stylish just by familiarity and connecting with the viewer through something they know. That is, assuming the viewer has played or at least knows what grand theft auto is. Doing this surely places a large mass of people in the dark who will see this and just see it as some odd looking computer animation of some dude breaking his stereotype. A pretty weak concept by itself. But take that concept and mix it with the context of what it is, and it’s pretty clever. People play these games to do things they normally would never do, things they shouldn’t do. Like driving around a city stealing cars and killing people. It’s funny that everyone in the spot ‘perceives’ this guy as that character… the character we make him. But of course, he isn’t, because he’s drinking coke today. As should you. It’s obviously targeting the generation of video gamers, who I’m sure is a large target market for coke. So maybe it’s brilliant? Who knows, only cokes sales can tell that. All this add can do is make some gamers out there smile because they understand, while the older people are oblivious and make the mistake of choosing pepsi next time they are faced with the choice. Oh, the thought!
Machinima makes me scratch my head. There is a whole community out there doing it, like it’s some big thing. I saw some people do a presentation on it at a MOVE conference last year. Yeah, Red vs Blue is good, and one of a kind. But I’m just not sure if it can carry itself further than just a clever gimick. Do you think? Does it hold value further than that? It wasn’t machinima that sparked this commercial, I don’t think… I think it’s just the shear popularity of the game grand theft auto. A common formula. If something breaks stride and is innovative in one industry, take it and adapt it to another industry, and the innovation continues.
Anyway, enough about that. Technically and creatively it’s really well done. The modeling and texturing is the perfect mix of video game characteristics with out the faults of low polygon counts, chunky motion and lifeless features. But I’m wondering, if those aspects of it were there, would it have made it better? Poking fun at machinima, and ridding any gap between the association of this to a video game. An old professor of mine quoted Mr. Miagi with, ‘a grape walk down left side of street on sidewalk, safe. Walk down right side of street on sidewalk, safe. Walk down middle of street, squish!’ or something like that. Is this in the middle? Maybe they should have done it machinima. I actually think I would have liked that better. You? Now I’m contradicting myself.
It’s also interesting how the end scene is pretty familiar to the psyop coke factory piece. Oh, and this coke campaign is nuts! So many spots…
I coulda just said, hey look at this, it’s awesome!