thoughts by Ben
I have come to realise that the main thing we do on this site is moan about things. Which is all well and good, we like a good rant, but it’s sometimes good to talk about good things. So, one of the one things we moan about the most is television adverts (see the Mazda advert post for example). In these tough times with persistently awful comparison sites spewing visual garbage onto our screens, it is hard to recognise, much less appreciate the better adverts out there, the ones that are getting it right.
The example i’d like to talk about is the Hive advert. This advert has got it all for me. Good animation, decent humour, a catchy song and of course… a ukulele! The premise of the advert is about Hive being a heating system that you can control remotely… or something like that. It explains this by showing you a series of absurd things that could be going on in your life while all the time your heating can be controlled from your phone.
It’s a good product, though why you’d want to control the heating in your house while you’re not in your house is a bit odd. I guess if you’re in the house and too lazy to get up off the sofa to sort the heating it’s good to be able to do it using your phone. So long as you don’t lose your phone. Then you’ll end up with some homeless guy controlling your heating saying “Why isn’t this gizmo making me pasta?!” Although I suppose if you’re on your way home on a cold winter’s night and you want to come in to a warm house, but don’t want to leave the heating on all day while you’re out, this would be good.
Anyway, back to the ad. First, the song. I’m a sucker for adverts with ukuleles in, so as soon as I heard this it made me happy. The song is pretty simple and quite silly, suggesting a list of crazy scenes like ‘surfing on a cab’ and ‘having a kickabout with a team of giant trout’. Actually, that is one bad point, the rhymes. The first line is ‘surfing on a cab, while visiting your mad dad’ which isn’t a great rhyme and the second line isn’t silly so it feels like it’s just in there to rhyme, and the next one ‘shopping for some trousers, when it starts snowing on your schnowzers’ is just really bad. But it sort of… you don’t really notice it too much because there’s a kind of innocence about it. The singer isn’t singing it like a big pop song, it still sounds like a little ditty that he wrote in his room and is playing for a friend. The fact that it’s just one guy singing over ukuleles – as opposed to a full on band with guitars – reminds you that it’s not meant to be taken seriously, it’s just a fun little ad to show you a new product. It sort of reminds me of the Apple billboards. While Apple products are so good that they just show you the back of the phone and that’s it, this advert is just simple and fun and it only really mentions the product a few times – and even then it’s just the same one line – but it still works. One point though, the song says “While Hive is busy controlling your heating at home” but surely you’re the one who is controlling it. It’s you using the app, not them. They should maybe look at changing the lyrics to “While you’re controlling your heating at home using Hive”, I think that would make more sense. Admittedly it’d be less catchy, but for the sake of accuracy it works.
As for who sings it, I had to dig quite deep. I’m guessing whoever sung it doesn’t want to be named, but I found out that Colin Smith is credited as ‘musician’ so I’m guessed it was him. In fact I’ll put a list of the credits at the bottom of this article. I looked him up and it sounds like it was him. Here’s a song by him:
The animation – a combination of Cel and 3D – again is quite simple (to look at, I doubt it was simple to make) with a light colour palette, hand drawn images that are roughly coloured in, and lots of flowing movement. It’s very nice. It’s not in your face, again it’s friendly and it matches the song.
Interestingly, the video has got a lot of negative comments on YouTube, with people complaining that it’s irritating. These are people that probably can’t distinguish between ‘catchy’ and ‘annoying’.
They have also released a series of shorter videos with just one line from the song. The example above is not in the song in the video at the top, so maybe they had a few lines that didn’t make the cut. I really like the fact that they’ve done this, because it’s like you’re seeing behind the scenes and they’re really working on it properly, not just making the one advert and that’s it. These videos seem to have more of a mixed response, with fewer comments but still a heated debate. The website also has video tutorials for how to use the product. They are very good tutorials. They show you how to do things very effectively and they don’t go on and on like some tutorials. This company has really got it right with these videos. Although, it says ‘by British Gas’, which surprised me because the British Gas adverts aren’t great. They’re okay. It’s a good theme of ‘helping you look after your world’ and the people on their own little planets, but they ruined it when they started introducing things like ‘The British Gas Team’. But i’m going to stop there because this is a positive article.
In fact, as I did some research for this article, I delved into the Hive brand itself and was very impressed. The website is clean and consistent and very inviting. The creators of the ad, Buck, are very very good. I really like their style, having seen some beautiful 2D animation on their site, as well as some exciting work for google (this for example). I really like the agency’s simple, friendly style. Instead of shouting at you and throwing products in your face, they produce creative and interesting work.
So in conclusion, a lot of people seem to hate this advert, and maybe it’s just me being a fan of ukuleles, silly songs and nice animation, but I really like this ad. What about you? Do you like it? Is it cool and catchy or just plain annoying? Leave your comments below and let’s get a heated debate going. *snigger* geddit?! Heated! Cos it’s an advert all about heating! Oh forget it. Don’t know why I bother.
Anyway, here’s a parody of the Hive advert song about the Hive advert.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/149172738″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
So here’s who made the advert:
Directed by BUCK
Executive Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Associate Creative Directors: Joe Mullen, Steve Day
Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
Producers: Ashley Hsieh, Hilary Wright
Coordinators: Emily Suvanavej, Kaitlyn Mahoney
Designers: Joe Mullen, Gunnar Pettersson Joshua Harvey, Ken Gunn Lee, Xoana Herrera
Cel Animation: Song Kim, Kendra Ryan, Claudio Salas, Matt Everton, William Trebutian, Steve Day, Joe Mullen, Gunnar Pettersson, Andreas Bjoern Hansen, Thierno Bah, Taik Lee, Connie Chan, Yoav Shtibelman, Mike Bertino, Alan Foreman, Ben Choi
AE Animation & Compositing: Claudio Salas, Moses Journey, Albert Omoss, Andreas Bjoern Hansen, Esteban Esquivo, Justin Mays, Andrew Tan, Yan Sedie, Rachel Yonda
3D Artist: Ana Luisa Santos
3D Animation: Lindsey Butterworth
Storyboards: Morgan Schweitzer
Sound Studio: Factory Studios
Musician: Colin Smith