Is it me... or could brands do more with their characters?

Cartoon 19 March 2013 Media Vault.jpg

So, after months of brainstorming, pitching, storyboarding, conference calling, more pitching, testing, rewriting, filming and editing; your commercial is finally complete. Phew!

With its gorgeous cinematography and well-cast characters it looks and sounds amazing. Success. But aside from a quick run on terrestrial, or digital highway, the most you’ll ever do after its aired is pin it to Facebook and count the comments.

Still a success?

For some, yes – I love the recent campaign for Three but aside from a web-based app hosted on YouTube where’s the longevity? You wouldn't get Mr Bruckheimer working like that. Hell, he’d have signed up the region’s entire livestock for sequels, prequels and TV spin offs. Dick King Smith, eat your heart out.

As a filmmaker I can’t help thinking of all those golden assets just left in the media vault waiting to be developed. Shame, as they could easily be extended into online videos for brands, their websites and a whole lot more.

Of course, some are already at it. There’s this audacious offering from River Island but more to my liking this hysterical offering from K-Swiss which enlisted Danny McBride or ‘Kenny Powers’ from Eastbound & Down in which Kenny becomes the company’s CEO. Then there’s the Fosters series that enlisted Alan Partridge and his mid-morning matters.

Both went further than they could on TV. Both were huge hits online with fans. However, the key word here is “enlisted”. K-Swiss and Fosters tapped into the credibility of existing comedic characters. I’m talking about developing original creations. And in 2012 no one went higher than Felix OMG!

Of course not everyone can afford a mission into space but online doesn't have to be expensive if you have creativity and one of those “little golden assets”. A simple series of online brand extensions can work a treat, adding depth to any TV offering.

You get the sense that BT is flirting with the idea of a brand drama. Their original ‘BT family’ ran for 40 commercials and culminated in a wedding. The public were invited to choose the dress, the music and the car. 1.6 million had their say. This shows that people are willing to connect with characters – as long as they feel real. In fact, I think BT missed a trick in not going all the way. Perhaps they will with the second generation now on our screens.

I also recently spotted this commercial for Lurpak - nice tag line, “a little piece of heaven”. Now if that isn't a golden asset I don’t know what is.

Pass the dynamite Charlie Crocker, I’m going in…

Carl Prechezer