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By Doug Brunell | June 11, 2005

Normally I would not review a commercial reel. This is the exception, though. Why? Because “Converse Round 1 & 2,” which features television and web spots, has some of the most original commercials I’ve seen, and the filmmakers involved (people such as Rob Hudak, Wendy Allen, Mike Hughes and Max Nova) are some of the most talented to ever be associated with such a project. There’s a huge question that must be answered, however. Is this what we want talented filmmakers doing?

Modern commercials, such as the ones seen on this DVD, don’t sell products. They sell emotions and lifestyles, and the commercials here do that quite well. Some are funny. Some are touching. All are creative. You learn absolutely nothing about Converse sneakers, but you get to see some cool animation and hear some great music. What makes it worse is that these are filmmakers, not ad agencies, and they are letting themselves become hucksters. Their talent is being used, with their permission of course, and it is being used to sell shoes. There seems to be something very wrong about this.

It’s a sad fact that it’s easy to get starving artists to create their vision of “freedom,” but the price seems too high. Are these filmmakers that desperate, or do they love the shoes that much? Do they think they’re pulling something over on corporate America? Are they hoping this leads to future projects and funding? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I saw several wildly innovative commercials made by very skilled people who — and this is a novel idea — would be better off utilizing those talents making movies and not selling footwear.

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