Documentary Marketing – Magna Carta Holy Grail

If you’re reading this, then chances are, by now you’ve already seen it. Whether its on a banner ad next to your email, loaded up as a “commercial” before your YouTube video or during half time of Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

I was in a sports bar watching the game with some friends when all of the sudden I realized that every one had stopped talking and were all staring at the TV. I am, of course, talking about the 3 minute extended advertisement for Jay-Z’s next album presented by Samsung.

There are so many aspects of this marketing plan that make it fascinating. From the 3-minute commercial buy during the NBA playoffs, to the selling of a Million copies to Samsung before the album even drops, we could debate about these things for hours. In the interest of brevity I am just going to talk about the look and feel of the commercial and leave the marketing talk for another time.

Whether you loved it or hated it you have to admit the ad was compelling. It got your attention. If you haven’t seen it, take a quick look.

This piece, in my opinion, is a masterpiece. It is presented to the viewer as an a gritty nside look into how Hip-hop moguls such as Jay-Z and Timbaland interact while crafting songs which will surely be played in bars restaurants sporting events and be soundtracks to our lives. While I was watching this even cynical old me was sucked right into it and actually felt myself believing that this was an authentic piece of documentary cinema. I was enthralled. I get to watch Jay-Z, Timbaland, Pharell, Swizz Beats and Rick Rubin kick around ideas for a new album? I felt like the luckiest fly on the wall ever!

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The more I thought about it and about Samsung and their marketing history the more I was convinced that this was not in fact just a production company capturing authentic moments. It was not a crew of documentarians capturing the process of making an album, but rather a script so well written and executed that it felt like real life.

I began looking online to see who was responsible for making this and my theories were confirmed. This was no accident. Much like you see in the video of Jay kicking ideas around with some of the best in the business, this video was made and engineered by the best in the business.

The idea was developed by ad agency 72 and Sunny. As soon as you get on their website you are bound to recognize their work most recently the low contrast Samsung commercial campaign where Samsung waged hilarious war on Apple.

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It was then Directed and shot by Mark Romanek, the award winning writer and director the Robin Williams movie One Hour Photo and Grammy winning music videos such as Jay-Z’s own “99 Problems”.

Stud.

He teamed up with the guys from Anonymous Content, one of my favorite production companies in the States and Cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes, Cinematographer for the HBO series “Girls”.

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Ok so we have a power house already. It was then edited by Geoff Hounsell over at Arcade Edit,who edited my favorite Old Spice commercial ever.

Post was done at “The Mill.”

In short, this was no accident. The brought together the best in the business and wrote and shot a beautiful piece of short commercial cinema. And most importantly of all, they got me. I will absolutely be buying a copy as soon as I can and listening to it early whenever my friends with Samsungs get it.

Over 22 Million views. You think this worked?

Also, here are my Top 3 moments. What are yours?

Top 3 Moments

1) Rick Rubin is laying on the couch. Rick Rubin!
2) They blow the speakers
3) Pharell Makes this face

Sources

IMDB.com
TheInspirationroom.com
Wikipedia.com

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