I recently came across this Northwestern Mutual TV commercial and was immediately reminded of the introduction sequence to the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Start at Minute 1:00 (there are two different commercials in this video)

I will first acknowledge that this doesn’t really apply the body and skin genres that we covered recently in class.  I bring this up, because each of these videos use very similar visual and audio techniques, but have very different purposes.

Both videos use sweeping camera motions, a continuously moving camera, continuously building sets, and epic drone like music that has a repetitive quality to it.  There is also a narrative throughout each video: the Game of Thrones video shows, in the order of communities it visits, the narrative of the episode to come; the Northwestern Mutual video shows narrative through the words that appear throughout the rising column.  With all this in mind, it is very obvious to me that Western Mutual took the style of the Game of Thrones, and used it for their commercial in order to create a similar building epic story line.  I think they do this successfully.  However, I don’t think ‘epic’ works well for this commercial.  It caught my interest just because it reminded me of the Game of Thrones intro, not because I thought it was a good all around commercial.

So why does this style work for Game of Thrones and not for Northwestern Mutual?  This style is fitting of Game of Thrones, because it is setting the scene for a very epic story that spans seven different kingdoms.  It also does a good job at mapping out the different kingdoms.  For Northwestern Mutual, this epic style and the use of words to tell the story ends up being very slow, hard to follow, and ultimately boring for a TV commercial.  It took me about 5 times watching it back to back to completely understand the message they are sending.  Which is basically “We know how to invest, and you should invest, build and secure your future with us.”  In my opinion the style they used to be “cool” and “epic” detracts from the overall message and purpose of the commercial

In summary I don’t think this epic style that mimics the Game of Thrones introduction works for this mutual fund company in a TV commercial genre.

I’m interested to hear what others think about this!