Creating Worlds to Drive Through

Design Approaches, TV Commercials Add Comment
Part 1 of 4 in the series The Virtual Worlds of TV Commercials

TV commercials (including viral videos for that matter) can provide interesting examples for discussion in this blog, and this post is the first in a series that will explore various aspects of this topic. When a combination of imaginative agencies, creative talent, daring clients, and substantial production budgets occurs, the result can be the creation of fascinating virtual worlds that serve to promote a certain product or brand.

Car commercials represent a particular type of commercial that may involve the creation of inventive worlds. One of the ways to evoke a desirable image of a car is to show the kinds of environments that such a car can handle: challenging, varied, fascinating – suggesting that you would be able to explore them yourself if only you buy the advertised car.

The first example is a commercial for the Citroen C5, which shows the range of road and weather conditions it can handle by presenting the landscape it drives through as made of a series of huge domino blocks. Each such domino block consists of a different type of landscape in a different season, yet they all fall perfectly into place just as the car is about to cross over from one to the other:

The next example follows the same approach of showing the variety of road conditions the car can handle – this time a Land Rover – but expresses it in a very different way. Instead of making the impossible look realistic, the whole world it presents is made of continuously transforming clay. As the car rides along, the road, houses, landscape, trees, animals, and people playfully shift form to create ever new environments:

An alternative approach occasionally used in the making of car commercials is to use the car parts as raw elements from which to create something entirely new. In the following Subaru commercial, this approach is mixed with that of inventing new worlds, resulting in the creation of a virtual world which is made up of car parts – including the buildings, roads, water, plants, and animals – while the car itself is hardly ever seen, but rather implied:

The final example, advertising a Honda motorcycle this time, makes a conscious reference to the car commercial approaches discussed in this post. Thus, instead of trying to create a convincing new world, it invites us to witness the construction of an illusion of such a world – suggesting a stop-motion animation of a continuously changing wall painting surrounding a parked motorcycle:

Next post in this series: Unlikely Urban Interventions»

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