This brilliant parody of a blandly generic corporate brand video began life as a poem by Kendra Eash in McSweeneys, This Is A Generic Brand Video. When the folks at the video stock company Dissolve saw the poem, they knew exactly what to do:
The minute we saw Kendra Eash’s brilliant “This Is a Generic Brand Video” on McSweeney’s, we knew it was our moral imperative to make that generic brand video so. No surprise, we had all the footage. (Dissolve: This Is a Generic Brand Video)
Indeed they did. The video is a sarcastic, satirical parody, but it is dead on in tone and the blank vacuity of its “message.” It perfectly illustrates the kind of empty, employee-break-room-inspirational-poster “positivity” that all too may companies aim for in their advertising, their messaging (think “leading provider of business solutions“) and, ultimately, in the names they choose for their company and products. It is thus a very effective cautionary example of what not to do.
Fast Company posted a nice article about this video (This Generic Brand Video Is The Greatest Thing About The Absolute Worst In Advertising), which also includes four real corporate brand videos from the likes of Acura, Mazda, Suncor and Cisco for comparison. The Suncor video is so “good” — in that it’s so tonally similar to the Dissolve/Eash video that it too seems like a parody — I’m compelled to include it here:
Where does this all lead? Hopefully not to the dark place that is the near future depicted in the great Alfonso Cuarón film Children of Men. Here is a compilation of clips from the movie that show some of the products that get their own “Generic Brand Video” treatments, such as Bliss, a happy pill, and Quietus, the legal suicide pill for when your depression is just too great to bear any longer:
The word quietus means an end to something unpleasant, such as tinnitus or a horrible life in a dystopian future, and is also a euphemism for death. It is the perfect smugly pseudo-comforting name for a suicide pill in a dystopian society, but what’s shocking is that it has shown up in a late-night infomercial as an apparently real “homeopathic medication” — Quietus — to combat tinnitus, or extreme ringing, buzzing or roaring in the ears:
This disturbing video is an unwittingly perfect commentary on the ubiquitous, persistent noise created by most brand messaging in our culture. Perhaps a little Quietus for the ear will help tune out such blandly “inspiring” advertising before the other Quietus becomes a pressing need.
Listen to the best naming project parody ever: Amtrak renaming project, by Harry Shearer