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Passion's Alex Webster Shares His Hope for Cannes



Passion’s MD/EP, Alex Webster, on some of the most impressive films this year

Passion's Alex Webster Shares His Hope for Cannes

Amid a backdrop of sometimes derivative and often formulaic brand spots, there are a handful of films which for me, this year, really stand out. Storytelling is the foundation on which Passion (the company I work for) was built and all too often the value of story seems to be misplaced by advertisers or marketeers when trying to engage with an audience, whichever platform or channel they may be tuning in on. Thankfully, there are a few films this year which engage entirely on this level, which had me watching until the very end and left me with a lasting impression.

First up, NZTA. Maybe it’s because I'm a parent that this resonates so much? The look of the Dad to his son before impact is beautifully realised and it touches a nerve. This is a simple message, eloquently told and expertly performed and as a result the message that 'Other people make mistakes – Slow Down' lives on, long after you've closed your computer screen. Unlike a lot of road safety spots, this film has genuinely made me think. Bullseye!

In a similar vein, Scottish Police held my attention to the very end, which most advertising films do not. Again, this is a simple premise, expertly told with earthy and realistic performances. We're placed in a situation and challenged to make a decision. For me, and l assume for you, films that make you think leave an impression; fundamentally, it also drove me to the all important website, where I experienced the breadth of the integrated campaign. Great work on many levels – engaging and thought provoking.

On a somewhat happier note, there's the fabulous Volvo film – lest we forget, ads should also entertain and this spot does just that, by the bucketload. You may have noticed a theme here, that for me it’s the simple ideas that work and this is an object lesson in how to deliver a brilliant, simple idea flawlessly with style and panache, making for a great bit of entertainment. It’s brilliantly crafted in its use of camera movement, lighting and a perfect v/o from the man himself, who also delivers one of his finest cinematic performances. Top marks all round.

And finally, with a nod to the one of Passion's main peers, Smith & Foulkes delivered an absolute masterclass with their 'Honda Hands’ work through Nexus. Again, a very simple premise but the design, layout, animation and quality of the compositing make this a real favourite for the purists out there. I wish we'd done it.

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Passion Animation Studios, Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:18:49 GMT