Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with outstanding clients and agencies to contribute to stunning works of audiovisual and advertising art. Here is a brief selection of a few of the final products that have blown us away.
Banana Republic: Summer 2017
Want an ad that says “elegant summer fashion that’s also eminently wearable?” There’s a song for that. Banana Republic married image and music in a Summer 2017 fashion ad backed by an instrumental version of “Westside” by Sibling.
Indie Music Central called “Westside” “the sort of song that could pacify any bad mood.” It’s an instantly iconic piece from the California-based indie duo, and one that perfectly captures Banana Republic’s ability to mix vintage-inspired details into an up-to-date, breezy and beautiful summer fashion collection. The choice of the instrumental version is as pared-down as the clothes. No words are spoken, because they don’t need to be: The fashion and the music speak for themselves.
Holland America: ‘Making Connections’ and ‘Next Great Chapter’
Holland America Line provides global cruise experiences, and we had the opportunity to partner with the company to provide the musical setting for two ad spots recently: “Making Connections” and “Next Great Chapter.”
“Making Connections” offers a quick yet lush visual world tour of the places and faces the cruise line connects travelers with throughout the world. It’s set to “Escurial” by Sleevenotes, a piece whose initial suspended chords and minimalist piano melody create a sense of anticipation and wonder before breaking into a moving melodic line, heavily reliant on bells and strings, that communicates joy and adventure.
The result? “Making Connections” doesn’t only show you the human relationships that can be built from travel — it helps you feel them as well. “Next Great Chapter” encourages potential travelers to write the next chapter in their life story through the human connections and sense of wonder that world travel can provide. The ad spot is backed by Mark Ullrich’s “Blow My Mind,” which uses a quick-moving piano line and building string background to launch into a piece that’s edgier than “Escurial,” but no less moving.
Since both “Escurial” and “Blow My Mind” combine airy string-section chords with quick-paced piano melodies, they provide a sense of continuity across the two ads despite being created by different composers. The result is a pair of ads that build a brand without feeling repetitive.
HP Spectre Laptop
The visuals in this ad for the HP Spectre offer a sense of classic, lush style, showing off the laptop as if it’s an expertly crafted grand piano.
The soundtrack, an instrumental version of “Archetype” by MYRNE, turns the images into a story: This is a beautifully crafted laptop that’s also a high-powered, future-forward tool ideal for music and video design.
But it’s not the just the laptop that’s well-crafted. MYRNE’s music offers an exquisite understanding of timbre, rhythm and the trajectory of the merging relationships between instrumental and electronic music. Classical training and a modern ear allows the artist to blend R&B, hip-hop and other genres into music that genuinely reflects the ever-accelerating pace of an increasingly futuristic world.
Following @MYRNEmusic on Twitter can also keep you up to date on the artist’s work, inspirations and upcoming projects.
The Microsoft Surface ‘Create Change’ with Richard Sherman
This piece grasped the growing trend in short-form documentaries and turned it into art.
Here, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman discusses his own childhood in Compton, California; his path toward his goal of playing professional football; and the work Sherman’s family foundation, Blanket Coverage, has done to provide school supplies to students so that access to the basic tools of learning doesn’t hinder them from realizing their own potential.
Backing the spot is “Rendevous” by Bastian, an experimental rock track introduced so subtly at first that it’s not immediately obvious at what point the rhythms begin to drive the movement of the video. Blanket Coverage and Microsoft aren’t Bastian’s first foray into world-changing names. Bastian, aka composer Benjamin Allen, has created custom compositions for several major brands, including Speedo, Skype and Walmart. Here, Bastian’s combination of smooth rhythms and subtle electronic chords in the piece provide exactly the right note of drive, inspiration and hope.
Vogue Met Gala Instagram Booth
At the Met Gala, production company Sila Sveta combined the photo booths of yore with today’s image-rich social media and the cutting-edge artistic demands of fashion. The result? An Instagram booth featuring top designers, outstanding celebrities and works from several musical artists, including some familiar voices. Music that made the list included haunting electronica by Reid Willis, dramatic percussion and string-based work by Marcus Zhur, and work by Clorinde that perfectly captured the excitement of the Met Gala and the aesthetic complexity of high fashion.
“With the technology we have, art and fashion can come to life,” Sila Sveta’s cofounders Alexander Us and Alexey Rozov told Instagram. “We wanted to celebrate colors, textures and the avant-garde.” The result celebrated color, texture and the avant-garde through its sounds as well as its visuals: Check out the playlist here. And don’t miss these highlights from the Instagram booth itself.
Paper’s Beatrice Hazlehurst called the Instagram booth “the most extra and awkward part of the whole damn show” — and we’re proud that these musical contributions pushed the booth’s artistic statement to the limit.
What Drives These Pieces?
Why do these ads stand out to us as some of the best client work we’ve seen recently? For one thing, they’re all setting the trend. The Met Gala’s Instagram photo booth was an early adopter of “audio-focused experiences,” which are becoming more popular among advertisers in a wide range of industries, according to Dexter Garcia at SmartBrief.
Brands like Nike and Toyota are connecting music to their brands in immersive, interactive ways that make the experience of the brand as fun as the activities the product enables people to do. Music is helping us find our human side, too. Pieces like Richard Sherman’s exploration of his foundation’s work with Microsoft address our increasing interest in human connection — the people behind the devices that permeate our world, as George Edelman notes at StudioBinder.
Exploring human diversity, Edelman says, is one way we discover that our commonalities are more numerous than our differences. And music provides a profound tool to drive that narrative. Music is connecting people more than ever before, according to Nue Agency CEO Jesse Kirshbaum. In a piece for Ad Age, Kirshbaum explores the rise in music consumption in recent years and the corresponding response from the music industry to outdated policies and practices that haven’t kept pace with audiences’ demand.
Why are we turning back to music, and why now? Music in particular can be a driving agent for social change, Jenni McKinnon notes at Pagely. While some advertising spots in the past year have focused on this point directly, more creative directors and music producers are looking at the ways music can set a tone across cultural and language divides.
In an era when consumers are demanding the experience a brand provides more than its specific products, the right musical setting can communicate that brand experience to a vast audience — no matter their personal backgrounds.
images by: Anthony Delanoix, Jacob Morch