Wednesday, December 16, 2009

At the movies - the Avatar preview

Attended the 'paid preview' today.
I'm not getting tired of telling anyone that will listen - Avatar is a remake of a Bollywood movie of the same name from years ago. Here's the email I sent out (*wink*wink*):

'Avatar: Watched the Hindi original in 3D? Wow.
James Cameron picks up from Rajesh Khanna - how about that?
original Avtaar (1983) was a classic that starred Kaka, Shabana Azmi and AK Hangal as the alien who's always been old. As you can see, James Cameron has slightly
altered the screenplay for a worldwide audience. He doffs his hat to the first film in style.

I thought it was well adapted; Hangal and Golshen Grover are the only actors from the original in the 2009 version. Watch for them as Na'vi elders.

However, some people didn't get it. Jeez.

Anyway, Avatar (2009) was a visual treat just like the reviews said. The 3D wasn't about gimmicks - aiming projectiles toward the audience et al. It kind of felt like I was in the movie, in mostly dark settings. There are several Matrix-like scenes. Past a point, I didn't care about the story, and just watched the action. The ending was all figured out - very obvious.

If 3D is available to watch, why bother with the 2D version?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Is this a Volkswagen ad? What were they thinking?

Chanced upon the VW ad campaign in India on TV. The ads (print included) are unusually poorly done - did Wolfsburg really approve this brand embarrassment?

In a long and amateurish sequence, here's how the TV spot goes:
  1. Kid shows up in a showroom. Inquires about 'booking a car for his 18th birthday' in a horrendous vernacular accent (premium segment, anyone?). Hear that first line again. Who at DDB and VW thought the delivery sounded about right?
  2. Ingratiating dealership salesman calls the kid 'sir', and proceeds to fawn over him.
  3. Kid goes on to talk about VW models for when he's 24, a CEO... a longwinded sequence while the salesman agrees for each choice earnestly.
  4. This goes on for about a minute, and feels much longer.

And this was the best way DDB and VW thought to present themselves to India: a brand known worldwide for creative, innovative, and most importantly - memorable advertising. Perhaps they wanted to oversimplify things for the Indian consumer, and came up with this.

As a former VW owner, and as a fan of their campaigns in the United States, I am appalled at such substandard communication from the brand.

To think VW India and the agency are actually pleased with their work. Since Porsche and VW are together now - did they copy an older Porsche ad and do this version for India?