New Sony ad: beautiful but very familiar

Sony has released a new ad today. It features bold blasts of colour exploding down empty streets. Haven’t we seen this somewhere before?

Sony has released a new ad today. It features bold blasts of colour exploding down empty streets. Haven’t we seen this somewhere before?

The spot has been created to publicise the detail and colour of Sony’s 4K televisions. Shot in Costa Rica, it shows coloured petals erupting out of a volcano and across a village. It’s impressive yes, but watching it, the first thing you think of is Sony’s own advertising from seven or eight years ago.

The spot isn’t created by Fallon, the agency behind Sony Balls and Paint – the iconic ads that were Sony’s first foray into colour blasting – but McCann London. There’s no knocking the production values; the ad is beautifully shot by director Jaron Albertin, and the effects were apparently all created in real-life, but the impact of this is lessened by the lack of creative imagination. The spot is even set to folky guitar music, a trademark of Balls that prompted a folk trend in advertising that still endures today.

We don’t know quite what to make of it. Whereas Balls and Paint (shown below) provided an innovative approach to advertising this kind of product, this spot seems to simply retread old ground and is therefore unlikely to make the same impact as its much-awarded predecessors.

Agency: McCann London
ECDs: Rob Doubal, Laurence Thomson
Creatives: Arman Naji, Michael Thomason, Javier Gomez
Director: Jaron Albertin
Production company: Smuggler

  • Ed Wright

    I think it’s great – Sony now own the ‘colour blast’ (much like Guinness own black and white) and it’s nice to see them have confidence in brand continuity, rather than needless change.

    Which makes me think, bet it looks great on that telly, too.

  • graham wood

    Its stunning
    a beautiful image—a volcano that spews petals?
    who gives a fuck if its a bit like other stuff?
    you’ve got to be culturally blind to think it really fucking matters one fucking jot.
    Alien. its a bit like the Thing. Lets not bother. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Same as 30’s serials. Give it up. Another Tarkovsky movie? with all that drifting beauty? Piss off. Surely not another rock and roll band . . .
    it’s a petty, bitter, arsetight perspective. an empty argument.
    that tendency—to wheedle and whine, and the encouragement of it—is bullshit that gets turned into a weapon time and time again, used against any possibility of making something, as a knee-jerk cliche across the board.
    Advertising is moribund as it is.
    this is beautiful.

  • Nicholas Maroussas

    So now we’re haranguing brands for copying themselves!

    There’s plenty of mileage left in this idea – they could blast all different types of material which will behave differently and create slightly different experiences. Sony have a gem of an idea here that has strong brand recognition – they’d be mad to not explore it a bit further. The key thing is that its production values stand up to the originals.

  • Mr. Jeggings

    Does this mean Fallon are the biological parents of the idea? Thought the article was somewhat petaly though.

  • Mr. Jeggings

    Sorry *petty

  • ElizaWilliams

    The piece wasn’t intended to be petty and I agree it’s great to see a beautiful ad for a change, but for me it just feels so similar to Balls, in particular, that something gets lost as a result. Of course you can reference old works, and continue an idea, but shouldn’t it be moved on in some way too? When you think of Balls and then Paint and then the Play-Doh rabbit ads, the idea of colour was developed through the course of the campaign. This one feels like a repeat rather than a development.

  • Mark

    ….the Balls ad came out seven years ago!?!

  • graham wood

    perhaps its not the intention to be petty but it is the result—the trite, smug, un-nuanced ‘it’s been done before’, along with ‘it’s not human enough’ and ‘can it be more graphic (when a thing is already graphic), photographic (when a thing is already photographic), copy-led (when it’s already 1500 words) etc etc’ have prevented so many good things from happening before they’ve had a chance, that to see a writer on a creative forum deploy it as criticism in even the most spurious cultural sense is depressing.
    it’s particularly aggravating when it’s just not the case.
    and even more so when, as here, there’s no reason given, even if it were the case, for why it’s a bad thing to employ repetition, slight variation-have you heard Alina by Arvo Part? Have you seen Warhol’s work? (among many many many other things). ‘shouldn’t it be moved in some way too?’ really? why?
    in this case, the preceding TV commercials are, in their fairly minimal narrative content, wholly dissimilar to each other (how is a volcano spewing petals a repetition of stop motion bunnies leaping around Manhattan?). moreover, “the idea of colour” seems to actually be the campaign, no?
    sloppy at best.
    try reading Borges ‘Pierre Menard’.

  • James Nelson

    whilst watching this i thought: a volcano erupting over a nearby town is a bad thing. this is a weird association.

  • Jason

    What’s the name of the music in this ad?

  • Ulla

    The song “Berlin” by Ry X in this ad is fantastic!

  • Simon

    I just think that from a brand and marketing perspective, the whole thing is a bit odd. I like to see volacnoes erupt, but through the streets of a town? I know they are only petals but the concept is a bit strange, I’m not sure that anyone likes to see a video of a town being taken down by a volcano.