Notes: Brand Film Rewrites Intimacy for the Digital Age

I am not a writer. I have too much respect for the written word to attach it to myself. However, I do dig writing. There’s nothing like putting pen to paper and giving your penmanship the spotlight. You learn a lot about someone through his or her writing. It’s an intimate form of communication, something lacking in this digital age. What happened to passing notes? “It’s a thing of the past,” people will argue. I beg to differ… so take note.

Life Story Love Story, a short film from Take Note, a Toronto pen and stationery retailer, wanted to remind the public of the power of handwritten notes. So they reached out to BBDO Toronto, a Canadian Ad Agency, to help make an ad that would interest people. What followed was a love story via notes a couple leaves for each other over the course of their union.

The intent, according to Chris Booth of BBDO, was to show that “Leaving a note for someone is … much more personal and thoughtful than a text.” Launching during Valentine’s 2017, the ad was heartwarming and heartbreaking, like any good love story should be.

Notes Getting the Number

Notes Meeting the Parents

Some Good

Here’s the parts of this video that had my heart…

1. Originality – Most ads seeking such intimacy use an actor for the audience to connect the emotion. This ad did not. All we saw were hands and the notes they wrote and it was such a clever approach! Instead of a human face to focus on, we were instead forced to pay attention to the notes and the messages and for a stationary and pen retailer, what better way to advertise your product. The messages became the characters and made this ad surprisingly engrossing and enjoyable.

2. Music – An ad such as this—one that lacks your normal human interaction—needed to do more than have a series of notes float across the screen. It needed help conveying the emotion. The solution was production design, but also excellent music. Music is a great way to convey sentiment without words. Think of your favorite song or film score. Its melody can make you feel happy, sad, excited—all at the right moments. Fraser MacDougall and Tim White, from Imprint Music, gave us such a score.

3. Timing – Passing notes. Love story. A Valentine’s season release. Need I say more?

Some Bad (but not really)

Here’s what I wasn’t totally in love with…

1. Limited Notes – I liked this ad, but when you’re trying to communicate via notes, you have to remember a note is a short message. Nobody wrote a novel and passed it around the classroom. The approach was stylish and unique, but also limited. How do you convey a time in life or a problem with just three words? It’s impossible. To fix this, the ad fitted the production design with additional objects to convey the time in life of the couple, such as the note being on a kitchen counter versus a desk, on a moving box or with an apartment key. It worked, but also showed that the notes needed help to get the point across, something noticeable to this viewer.

Notes Getting Married

Notes Having the Baby

The Takeaway

This ad was unique and its approach caught me off guard. I never thought I would get so absorbed in a love story that was told through notes! Yes, the notes could not convey the entire message. They needed help from smart production design. That being said, Take Note and BBDO Toronto wanted to show us that there’s love in writing… and they did.

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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