Ad breakdown: Has Leica made the most boring advert ever?

Ad Breakdown
The Magazine's review of advertising

Image source, Leica

Leica claims the advert for their new camera is the most boring of all time. Can tedium be an effective marketing tool, asks Jon Kelly.

The white-gloved hand of an engineer picks up the aluminium frame of a Leica T camera and carefully gives it a polish.

Rub rub rub. Squeak squeak squeak.

And that's it. Repeat for 4,700 strokes and almost three quarters of an hour. Oh, for a few minutes at the beginning and the end there's a voiceover. It asks: "Is this the most boring film ever made?"

Anyone who gets even a quarter way through will surely start to conclude: Yes. Yes it is. It is spectacularly, almost thrillingly boring. It makes Derek Jarman's Blue look like The Poseidon Adventure. But it is oddly compelling.

For one thing, you keep watching out of a nagging fear that the second you switch off, something tremendously exciting will occur. The engineer breaking into a song-and-dance routine, for instance. Or the workshop being over-run by a pack of shrieking mandrills.

(SPOILER WARNING: Neither of these things actually happens.)

It is artfully shot. And - most importantly from a marketing point of view - you are supposed to appreciate the expertise and the attention to detail that goes into producing the device. It's a very smart strategy, believes marketing expert Victoria Tomlinson, chief executive of Northern Lights PR. "With all the competition from mobile phones and so on, they are trying to distinguish why you would still buy a beautiful camera like this."

Just as the comedian Stewart Lee berates his crowds for not being clever enough to understand his material, there's a brand of reverse psychology at play here. The voiceover intones that the ad will be dull if you like "the happy snap, the quick fix, the closest biscuit on the plate". The implication is that those with taste and refinement will be mesmerised.

If the tactic succeeds, perhaps Dulux or Crown Paints will follow it up with a two-hour shot of their product. Drying.

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