I dare you to watch this piece of commercial art and not get a little verklempt.
The carefully plotted advertisement follows the life of a businessman throughout his career, focusing in on the time-slices of his existence spent going up and down his building’s constantly renovated elevator.
The central protagonist starts his new career in 1974. As he pops in and out of this elevator time-machine, we watch, captivated as he creates a community of colleagues, celebrates the success of his business, builds new deals, observes (and participates in) the office romances, sobs over his failures, and carries on. But the audience doesn’t this see the full saga. The audience surmises the saga from the cleverly placed and paced clues of time well spent observing the elevator to appropriate music.
It’s not your average advert. Sure, it’s part of a wider ‘It’s Never Just Business’ campaign on behalf of the international bank HSBC. But the ninety second clip manages to accurately traverse thirty years and even more emotions as it transcends the capitalism that spawned it to become art.
It’s a visual flip book that ushers in a return to storytelling for commercial purposes. Every detail is part of the narrative. The costumes, the hair, the lighting, everything has been carefully considered as part of the subtle coding that conveys a rich story to the audience without their sitting through every act.
The Grey London creative agency behind this mini capitalist masterpiece has been trotting out commercials for years for some of the world’s biggest companies, but never has it created such an evocative and touching piece of design work.