Saturday, October 07, 2006

Advertising Questions

I have a couple of commercial questions, and I'm hoping someone out there who is "in the know" can answer them for me.

First of all, there are those great DirectTV ads. When I saw the ones with Ben Stein and Bill Pullman and Verne Troyer, I thought, "Well, okay, they could use makeup and costume to redress them and shoot their half of the scenes over again, then insert it into the originals. A lot of work, but doable."

But the new one with William Shatner blew my mind. Because it's younger, thinner, springier Shatner. I mean, one could reasonably make Ben Stein look like his younger self, but you can not make Shatner look like that anymore.

So now I'm convinced that they are having 2006 Shatner hold his head very still, and then putting whatever parts of his present face are necessary onto the original clip. Does anyone know? How far off am I?

Also, isn't there an implied endorsement by Helen Hunt or Mike Myers or Leonard Nimoy... or even that goofy kid from Ferris Bueller? Do they have to negotiate with each of those actors? I can't imagine that Mike Myers, for example, comes cheap.

Now, then, on to the Gap ad with Audrey Hepburn. I like the idea, though I don't think it's very well executed. Also, I think it's unfortunate that a whole generation will only know this great actress and humanitarian as the "girl wants to dance girl wants to dance" chick.

But here's what I'm wondering: I know the Gap reached an understanding with her estate, and made a sizable donation to UNICEF in exchange for the use of her image. But I thought Audrey Hepburn exclusively wore Givenchy. If those pants were designed by Givenchy, doesn't the Gap have to pay the House of Givenchy (or whatever it's called) for the rights to merchandise them?

These are mysteries, and I don't like mysteries. They give me a bellyache.


howard said...

I watched it a few times. great editing! It looked to me as though Shatner's head was digitally matched-- and shaped and blended-- to a different body. And it was executed way more convincingly than a similar conceit on the Sopranos.

Michael Markowitz said...

Oh yeah, the Sopranos one was dreadful.

I didn't know the head could be shaped, as in Photoshop. I thought since the 80's head was so much smaller than present-day Shatner's roundish head, that they'd have to isolate the face. If the new head can be "slenderized" then that explains it. Thanks, H!

Michael Markowitz said...

Yesterday at breakfast Helen Hunt was at a nearby table and if I could have thought of any remotely polite way to do it I would have asked her to clear at least one of these questions up for me. But there really is no way that jibes with the way I was brought up.