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  • Writer's pictureMajin Films

Blurring lines between short films and commercials good or bad?

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

The facility to block or skip ads when you don’t need them is another sophisticated single-click tool that technology has handed to viewers. Before it arrived, businesses really enjoyed the access to viewers’ personal spaces through commercial ads.

Now that the viewers’ have been empowered with ways to avoid these ads, businesses must find the means to beat the ad-blockers. Brands still need to expand their reach and maintain their identity.

Software services today have created extensions such as Ad block Plus that can help them keep commercials from disturbing their internet experience. As Page Fair finds out -- nearly 200 million users across the globe are regularly using them. And Page Fair is a group that advocates internet privacy rights.

Such hostile environment! How does a company get its message across then?

Remember this amazing 3+ minute short by Google that shows how Google search unites two long lost friends living across the border? The ad-maker goes on to make a series of engaging stories that brilliantly show Google to be an integral part of today’s life.

Have you come across a short film titled ‘Lifeline’ by any chance? A captivating 30-minute thriller by Armando Bo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter. The film, sponsored by technology giant Qualcomm, tells the story of how a Chinese man tracks down his missing American girlfriend with the help of a smartphone. The actioner came out as a mind-blowing entertainer. But as The New York Times later gave out, it also effectively promoted the new Snapdragon 820 chip set made by Qualcomm.

Within four months of the company releasing the film, it drew 20 million views. Its maker, advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather, while ensuring a highly engaging suspense drama, has definitely not lost its focus. And that is selling the phones, which it has successfully done.

So the real hero, as Bo puts it, is the Qualcom chip. Interestingly, just the film’s behind-the-scenes videos drew a 100 million views.

How nice is that! It completely changes the way a product gets its publicity. You do not fight to reach your audience. You do not waste time and funds elbowing into a space that is most watched. You just make an entertaining film. This way, instead of the company striving to reach out to its users, it is the users who seek out the product maker.

This of course is not the first such instance. One of the first experiments dates back to 2002, when BMW made The Hire that featured Clive Owen and had star appearances with Tony Scott as its director. And the trend may not die down soon as other bigger brands such as Nike and Prada are getting into this format of advertising.

Well, good for those who get their product across through such high budget movies. But this blurring of lines between pure entertainment and commercial intent can be a matter of concern in the long term. The concern seems valid when New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller explains the logic. Increasing use of cinematic technique for commercial advertising may overshadow and undermine the true purpose of real cinema, he says.

O&M CEO Lou Aversano begs to differ. He looks at it as a healthy and long term symbiotic relationship between entertainment and brand message. While many famous directors are fast getting drawn to this new challenging “art form” which also looks lucrative and more glamorous, what the entire game turns out to be remains to be seen.

We, at Majin Films, have been fortunate to have an interesting mix of raw talent guided by the vision and experience of a top lineup. While the seniors, through their extensive stints with reputed ad-makers, have rightly captured the essence of shorts, our budding enthusiasts are already brimming with crisp ideas.

Within a short span of 6 years, we have developed this knack of putting it all together to subtly blend a brand with a great story. And this is evident from the series of shorts we releases across social media channels regularly.

Though a relatively new entrant in this game, mostly dominated by the likes of O&M, Lowe Lintas, McCann, Majin makes impressive strides with its intelligent work.

Try us once, and you will be amazed by the magic of the Majin methods.

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