Commercials as art

Bryan Buckley was the subject of an article in last week's
NYTimes Magazine. It was timely because he has directed
a lot of the most popular commercials around, and it was
Superbowl Sunday, the world's largest stage for commercials.
He has done a lot of the ESPN Sportscenter commercials,
which are hilarious, as well as the ETrade commercials
featuring the monkey, and the commercial
featuring the children saying things like, "I want to claw
my way up to middle management."
The big question: are his commercials effective advertisements?
There's no doubt they get people's attention. I went to
Dan's house for the latter bit of the Superbowl and the
folks there all remembered the ETrade commercial with
the monkey. Most guys I know are familiar with Buckley's
ESPN commercials.
Personally, I'm not sure they're effective as advertisements.
Only if you assume that any press is good press, as is
commonly sad in the world of PR. But advertisements can
be memorable and convince you that you need something.
It's not easy to do, and most commercials just glaze my
eyes over, but it doesn't mean it can't be achieved. If you're
a company and you're paying for one of these $3 million
dollar commercials on television, you really have to ask if
there isn't another way to make just as many people aware
of your brand name in a more cost effective way. If you're
going to pay that much, aim for more than just raw
brand recall among your audience.