Butchering the Classics

Over the weekend I saw not one but two parodies of sci-fi classics and both made me despair for my profession.

The first is this abomination made by the IRS, which I came to via Twitter and the excellent io9 blog.


The second was at, of all things, the 25th annual IVCA Awards. Because it was the 25th anniversary, the awards evening had a “Back to the Future” theme. Those of you with a basic grasp of maths will realise that “Back to the Future” was released in 1985, not 1988 when the awards were first held, and the “future” destination was 2015 not 2013, but those are details I’ll just have to let go. The show opened with one of the IVCA board members, shot on greenscreen and inserted into the scene where we first encounter Doc and the Delorean in, with new “amusing” dialogue and everything. They even changed the destination date on the Delorean dashboard to match up with the date of the event. Clever huh? No, I didn’t think so either.

Why do we do this? They’re the most rank vanity projects, trading off the back of much loved properties, but sucking all the life out of them.

It’s not that the acting and scripts are bad (though they are) it’s that they’re so lacking in creativity. It’s as bad as the Blackberry 10 videos where they’ve replaced the lyrics of songs, like this one;

You can forgive the IRS to a degree, they’re tax agents for crying out loud, what do you expect when tax collectors make a video? But for the IVCA, the International Visual Communications Association, it’s especially disappointing. You’re in a room filled with some of the best communications professionals in the country, couldn’t you have given them a call to ask them for some advice? Instead what you get (at least from me – I can’t speak for *everyone* else) is a lot of eye-rolling and a complete loss of credibility. If you’re supposed to be judging what best practice looks like, then how about leading by example? By creating something original, emotionally engaging and most of all genuine. Instead I felt like I was being treated like a child, and consequently I tuned out. It happens all too much in corporate communications – by making something to appeal to a generic idea of the audience, you end up taking away the elements that people respond to and therefore please nobody.

Maybe I’m being a grouch. Maybe it’s all just good fun and I’m becoming a grumpy old man before my time… Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @editorrich