Of the 10 most viewed SHOOT videos of 2019, eight were marked by humor, perhaps reflecting the need for comic relief during what many regard as serious, divisive, trying times for society at large.
The entry generating the most views in SHOOT’s ScreenWork gallery this year was AT&T’s “Surgeon” directed by Martin Granger of Moxie Pictures for BBDO. The comedy spot introduces us to a surgeon who hardly inspires confidence from his patients. He’s generally regarded as “just OK” which isn’t good enough in medicine or for that matter in anything, including a wireless network.
The comedic bent continues with the second most watched entry of 2019, Samsung’s “Alpaca” directed by Nicolai Fuglsig of MJZ for BBH NY. In the commercial, a woman while driving past a South American alpaca farm gets an ides and uses her Galaxy Note10 to help bring it to life. Her idea quickly spreads around the world as the alpaca look becomes a viral sensation. We see it catch fire as we jump from the streets of Tokyo, to product launches, to late-night talk show appearances, and even making a runway appearance just in time for NY Fashion Week.
Taking third place in our click countdown was the sarcasm-tinged humor of “Politics Tamed” for U.K.’s The Times newspaper in which the British House of Commons is populated not by politicians but by a host of wild animals. Framestore London’s William Bartlett directed the tongue-in-cheek social commentary on chaotic politics--chaos which The Times makes sense of--for agency Pulse Creative, London.
The comedy continues with fourth place going to a spot in the ongoing Captain Obvious campaign for Hotels.com--this one tapping into that secret envy you feel after seeing friends post their amazing vacation photos. There’s that side-eye feeling when you know they’re just out for likes, but you double-tap it anyway. For the first time, Hotels.com gave this ubiquitous but unspoken behavior a name, calling it what it is--the “hate-like.” In this campaign, “Be there. Do that. Get Rewarded.,” Hotels.com pokes fun at this universal truth and offers people a solution to their travel envy. In “Romance,” a woman soaking in a bathtub looks longingly at a couple’s romantic getaway pic on her cellphone--the camera then revealing that her significant other, her romantic interest, is nearby sitting on the toilet. Then another player enters the bathroom--Captain Obvious who comes to the rescue, pointing out the painfully obvious reasons why they hate-like their friends’ vacation posts and reminding them that Hotels.com can help them book brag-worthy trips of their own. JJ Adler of m ss ng p eces directed “Romance” for Crispin Porter+Bogusky (CP+B).
Our fifth entry in the click-worthy countdown of 2019 finally deviates from comedy with Walgreen’s “Save our Skin” directed by documentary filmmaker Danielle Levitt from Tool of North America for agency Grey. The spot aims to raise awareness of how much damage the sun can do to your skin. Towards that end, UV imaging was deployed to generate full-spectrum footage that revealed markings on the skin, including hidden damage from the sun, that are not visible to the naked eye. These images were accompanied by an original Tierra Whack track that underscores the indifference people have to sun damage through the lyric “Don’t worry ‘bout me, I’m doing good, I’m doing great, alright.” Walgreens’ pharmacists and beauty consultants have been specially trained in sun care and prevention, and anyone walking into the store has access to their expertise to help find the right protection.
Also departing from the comedy norm in this Top Ten was Brittany Howard’s debut music video “Stay High” directed by Kim Gehrig of Somesuch with subtle VFX and color from Framestore. A tribute to the singer’s late father, the beautifully stylized music video stars actor Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Expendables) as a man finishing a day’s work and returning home to his family. The aim of “Stay High” is to move away from the glossy music videos that many pop singers create and present a natural and much more emotionally driven story which honored K.J. Howard, Brittany’s dad. Shot in her hometown of Nashville, the music video features lots of the singer’s family and friends, and Brittany pops up in several scenes throughout the video as different characters.
Back to comedy, up next in most-viewed fare of 2019 was Taco Bell’s “Chasing Gold,” a mock movie trailer from Deutsch LA featuring Golden Globe-winning actor Darren Criss and actor/comedian Chris Diamantopoulos. The tongue-in-cheek piece depicts the rise-and-fall of a singer who makes it big off Nacho Fries, only to learn that fame is fleeting in that Nacho Fries, are available for a limited time only. Alongside the mock-trailer is a fully produced, original song written by Jingle Punks and sung by Criss. Live-action director on “Chasing Gold” was Jeremy Saulnier of Neighborhood Watch, Brooklyn, NY. Food/tabletop director was Brett Froomer of French Butter Films, L.A.
Taking eighth place in our click rundown is Kohler’s “Mirror Mirror” directed by RSA filmmaker and VFX artist Robert Stromberg. The spot promotes Kohler’s new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror with Voice Control. With a light comic touch, “Mirror, Mirror” features a modern-day “evil” queen using Kohler’s first mirror-of-its-kind in the market to transform from a villainous character into the best version of herself. At the queen’s bidding, the mirror turns the lights on to make up mode, starts her music playlist, informs her of the nail salon’s hours, adds items to her shopping list and, in a surprise twist at the end, starts her Kohler DTV+ Shower System.
The comedy rolls on with entry number nine--Seventh Generation’s “Trees and B’s”--showcasing the singing and musical talent of Maya Rudolph. Conceived by 72andSunny New York, the musical :60 captures the absurdity of cutting down trees solely for use as toilet paper. Rudolph and her new friend, Mike the Tree, urge consumers to purchase brands like Seventh Generation that use recycled materials in their products. Matt Piedmont of PRETTYBIRD directed “Trees and B’s.”
Rounding out the Top Ten was a PSA marking Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday. Bringing a comedic touch to the iconic character was the voice of Betty White. Framestore served as production/animation/VFX company on the spot for the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council out of agency FCB New York.
Here’s a rundown of the 35 most viewed SHOOT videos of 2019 (click on title to view):