By Hans Ebert

“Being John Malkovich” is one of my favourite movies. John Malkovich is one of my three favourite actors. And so when seeing John Malkovich trending on Twitter, I feared the worst. Thankfully, the best was yet to come- John Malkovich in a brilliant role as himself for an advertisement for CBS and the AFC Championships.

The decision to cast Malkovich was a stroke of genius. The script and concept seems to have come from someone or a team who have been through the wars with “difficult” clients- you know, those who hire proven professionals in their respective fields, but insist on reducing these people to toadies and order takers and “create” what they think is “advertising” because it’s something that they’ve seen before which must mean that it’s okay.

Okay is never good enough and no self respecting professional with a proven track record will ever be willing to be a Kunta Kinte. They’ll be long gone.

Who wants to just sit there and take orders? Sadly, many with no sense of pride or having shamelessly tap danced for years when it came to accepting responsibility and with the inability and chutzpah to swim against the current.

For CBS and the AFL to approve what is a brave and brilliant piece of communications that takes aim at bland advertising, pretentious advertising, formulaic advertising, ponderous advertising with what many clients call “grand music”, how celebrity endorsed advertising is often fraught with danger with the celebrity often having more memorability than the product advertised, this augurs well for creativity.

It’s for all those in advertising or any form of creativity arts who has ever sat through a client meeting and listened to unmitigated corporate twaddle before walking out.

It’s for every Creative Director in every advertising agency who has been asked to make a jingle “more punchy” and to make the headline shorter because “it looks too long”. There are plenty more where these came from.

In one piece of biting, clever communications, this commercial for the AFL Championships holds a mirror to the face of every power mad client who insists on everyone doing what they say and not what’s needed. It barks out, “See this? This is you, doofus! This is why you can’t teach stupid!”

No matter what industry you might be in- yes, even the plodding horse racing industry with its cast of witless twittering legends in their own lunchtime- this commercial should be made compulsory viewing.

Hopefully, it will inspire rather than perspire and bring an end to creativity by numbers and where the end result is always irrelevant fluff. Why? Lack of (fill in whatever works for you)

#JohnMalkovich #CBS #AFLChampionships #advertising #creativity #clients #compulsoryviewing

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