Nice Guys Finish First (when they have dad’s car?)


I love cars-driving them, watching documentaries about them, reading about them, etc.  So of course, it was natural for me to seek out a car ad to dissect.  If I am going to watch something several times, I should enjoy it right?

I analyzed Audi’s 2013 commercial “Prom”:

I’ve noted elements of “story code” (described here) where I spotted them.  Here’s the rundown:

Opens with nervous looking teenage boy staring at his reflection in the mirror. (mystery- why is he nervous?)

Interrupted by his mom ,who pins a corsage on his lapel and tells him he is brave for going to prom by himself (empathy- poor guy!). He isn’t convinced.

As he gets ready to the house, his dad appears and throws him the keys to the car. (mystery: what kind of car will it be?)

Audi headlights turn on, engine growls to a start, kid behind wheel lets loose a bit of a smile. (surprise/revelation)

Pulls up to a limo full of prom goers yelling and screaming, mischievous look crosses teens face.

Peels away from limo at stoplight; next shot is kid pulling into principals parking space at school. Somewhere between home and school he has grown some courage.

Swaggers into school, into gym with a purpose. Face a mixture of nervous determination and devil-may-care. (mystery: What is he thinking? What’s his plan?)

Enters a crowded dance floor, walking through dancing crowds. Spots his “target”, beautiful prom queen in red dress, dancing with friends with her back to him.

Sensing someone is there, prom queen turns and before she can say anything, he…

…plants a kiss on her lips. Crowd who witnesses (surprise/admiration/astonishment- you go teenage boy!). Prom king is not impressed. Prom king begins to approach teen angrily.

Cuts to car being driven quickly over a bridge. Sense of movement. Growl of engine. Cut to interior shot of boy with huge grin and black eye (reveal- so that’s what the prom king did. Admiration, empathy).

He lets out whoop of excitement and accomplishment.
Flash back to love struck prom queen looking longingly after her departed suitor (awe, astonishment, admiration)

Shot follows boy as he drives away, cuts to Audi tail lights, then text on screen: “Bravery. It’s what defines us” (Awe-driving an Audi gives you courage and makes you a bada**)



3 thoughts on “Nice Guys Finish First (when they have dad’s car?)

  1. I really enjoyed watching this movie-commercial. It goes into the “over the top” exaggeration genre or “life as we wished we lived it”. You did a great job of breaking down the segments and matching them to the von damme elements (what is about car commercials?)

    I wonder though if the message is more than “Drive and Audi and get magical badda** powers” — does the car itself give one bravery or does it just help initiate it? Does it come from within? I’d like to see some narrative in your post that wraps it up at the end there- I was left a bit hanging.

    You can guess where it is going, but quite effectively, you are not quite sure what the peak will be after “the kiss”– notice how much action is left out between that scene and the last one, and how much we can fill in as a viewer as to what happens.

    There are a few ore elements we will study ore closely when we do video in weeks 6 & 7- there is darkness in the beginning, the uncertainty. The camera as a somewhat of a vignetted effect (or perhaps that is the suggestion of a mirror’s view). The opening drive scene has a nice cut to an overhead shot, switched from the view of the kid in the car– what do you think that does? We know he is driving, right? The camera work also uses a lot of shallow depth of field (the subject in focus, but the background blurry), something we see much more now in video.

    A great choice and 5 second analysis- again, I am curious to read in your posts, what the experience of doing this does for you, even if nothing? Does it make you think differently about the commercial? Do you notice things in detail now when you see other videos?

  2. Pingback: So long, farewell Week 2… | I haven't a clue what I'm doing!

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