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High Five: The Past, Present and Future of the Industry


Virtual Sound's new business director Holly Abey, and co-founders Toby Slade-Baker and Alex Lodge, reflect on both major and minor changes in what audiences have required over time, and how this may influence the future of advertising

High Five: The Past, Present and Future of the Industry

At pivotal moments, reflecting on the past is essential to reframing the future, and so we re-enter the never-ending discussion on where advertising is going. Will big brand TVCs only be seen during big live sports events? Will we drown in an endless sea of online content? What is the implication of this? Does quantity win over quality? Will our generation's idea of 'quality' die with us? And, perhaps more importantly, how will the the importance of the health of our planet affect how ads are made and what money is spent on them? So, our list of ads looks back on the big, beautiful, crafted TVCs of the past, then at where we are now, and finally where (we think) we are going. Not only is advertising being affected by the climate and squashed budgets, but also the generation it's appealing to. Gen-Z and younger are much less interested in 'big and beautiful'. They want to belong, and they want something meaningful. So how will this influence what is made, and how?

Nike - 'Nothing Beats a Londoner'

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy 
Production: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Post: Time Based Arts
Sound: Mr Pape x 750mph 

This ad has it all. Endless amazing tracks, great performances, special FX, great sound design and it really connects with the audience. It’s so specifically 'London'. I would love to sit down with someone from the US and see how they responded to it. For me, this is the best type of big, shiny TVC. 

The Humane Society - 'Save Ralph'

Production: Arch Model Studio
Director: Spencer Susser

Online content that feels like a beautiful short film. A tricky subject to talk about, but by getting to know Ralph, the viewers are instantly more interested in the subject and the CTA. Stunningly executed and voiced perfectly by Taika Waititi and Ricky Gervais, this film shows that online content can have high production value and money behind it. Content online can come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, and we’re excited to see more of these sorts of films being made.

Guinness - 'Never Alone'

Agency & Production: Stink 
Director: Tubby Brothers
Post: MPC
Sound: 750mph

As we see more agencies with in-house facilities and production companies going direct to client, this is a beautiful example of when that works. Again, this is digital content, but by-God it’s beautiful. To me, this was one of the first brands connecting with its audience on a more personal level. It’s emotive, human and real, which is what consumers are aching for. They don’t want to be sold to, they wanted to be connected with. 

Bupa - 'Healthy Planet, Healthy People'

Agency: AMV BBDO
Production & Post: Flare
Director: David Edwards
Sound: Virtual Sound

We’re only including one of our pieces of work because it’s a great example of virtual production - which we’re obviously very keen on. VS is excited to see more and more virtual productions happening, because firstly it’s great for our planet, and secondly it’s technically exciting to see this offering develop. Our model was designed with virtual production in mind, so we were very happy to be asked to do the music and sound for this. 

Hitachi - 'Racing to Zero'

Agency: Mamapool
Production: Rattling Stick 
Director: Ivan Bird
Post: Absolute
Sound: Bark Soho 

This almost takes the sustainability conversation to its logical conclusion. It’s a simple film with a big message. I think (and hope!) we’ll be seeing more and more ads being made in innovative ways like this, sooner rather than later...

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Virtual Sound, Wed, 10 May 2023 11:30:01 GMT