Film Assignment

by Mike Gleicher on April 15, 2011 · 16 comments

in Assignments

Make sure you’ve watched the Ikea Lamp Ad (see previous posting about that).

Now that you’ve seen it…

Clearly, some filmmaking tricks are being used to get you to have an emotional response – since the ad is pretty effective. (after seeing the punchline, you might not want to admit to being affected by the add, but you probably were).

Write a list of how the director (Spike Jonze) and the cinematographer were able to get you to have the emotional response that they did. Be as specific as you can – in this shot they did X which does Y.

Consider anything that is relevant – camera angles, lighting, staging, …

Write up your answer BEFORE reading other people’s answers, then post it as a comment below. And certainly, post your answers before looking at the answers from 5 years ago.

Please make your posting before Friday, April 22nd.


xlzhang April 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

The advertisement was memorable and effective because it first told a story, then broke the fourth wall and harshly, yet comically, brought the viewer back to reality.

In the storytelling phase of the ad, the music sets the tone of the scene. The anthropomorophism of the lamp is done by emphasizing its small stature, carefully directing how the actress carries the lamp over the shoulder like an infant, and shooting the scene through the lamp’s “eyes”. After the red lamp is tossed to the curb, the weather effects and depressing music continue to relate the lamps feelings of sadness and loss to the viewer; especially as the red lamp is forced to look on as his former owner tenderly touches her new lamp (the scoundrel) goodnight after switching him off. The dynamic camerawork draws our attention to different parts of the scene (the owner bonding with her new lamp inside the window, the red lamp being miserable and lonely outside) by effectively utilizing zooming techniques.

However, just as the viewer feels that they know how this story will end, and are lulled into a sense of inevitability and helplessness, a jarring transition occurs. At first I thought the man that passes in front of the red lamp was going to take the red lamp, and give it a new home. However, the man (with scruffy appearance and comic delivery) instead lets us know how silly we were to be so easily taken in by the rest of the advertisement. This juxtaposition of two wildly divergent moods in a one minute long segment woke me as from a reverie. Finally, it is always best to inject humor into an advertisement instead of sadness.

danieljc April 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

The first thing that I noticed was the large use of point of view shots, which made the lamp seem like a real character since you were viewing some of the events from its perspective. The music is the other thing I noticed right away, it tells you that something sad is happening right from the start.

Later on in the commercial, the camera positioning was always emphasizing the distance from the lamp to the window above. It made the lamp seem smaller and more helpless, while the window seemed like something now out of reach. The lighting from the dark, rainy weather contrasted with the bright light inside the room and also added to this.

Then there is the “plot twist.” I am not completely sure whether it was due to some hints given in class, but I was expecting something similar to happen near the end – turning it into an advertisement for a replacement light. The more shocking thing to me was hearing any talking in the advertisement at all after having gone 50 seconds without a word. While the commercial is certainly memorable, it did not in any way make me want to shop at Ikea; it more made me want to shop at a thrift store. I am not sure how successful the commercial was at its intended goal, but perhaps most people feel differently after watching it.

Aaron Bartholomew April 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Clearly Jonze gave the lamp human characteristics to make the watcher feel empathy for an inanimate object. He made the lamp appear to have feelings through postures and movements that convey an abstracted form of emotion. Jonze’s intent is to elicit these emotional cues entirely through means that aren’t out of the ordinary (all cues are due to causes that could happen in a normal situation and are not due to ‘intentional’ manipulations such as puppetry). These abstract emotional cues were found in the shots as follows:

1) After being picked up from the end table, the lamp is carried by the owner down a hallway to the street. The owner cradles the lamp like a child, with the lamp head/lightbulb facing towards the camera in a shot that is moving directionally away from the end table. This suggests the lamp is looking back at its ‘home’ in confusion and longing. Immediately afterwards, there is a backwards-moving shot (that bounces with the walking motion of the owner) focused on the end table, suggesting that the viewer is seeing the end table disappear through the lamp’s perspective.

2) In the next shot, it is established that the lamp is being thrown away, since it’s placed on the curb along with a bag of trash. The atmosphere is particularly forlorn, with grey skies and unsaturated colors, which is the manifestation of the lamp’s feelings of abandonment. Jonze uses the wind to anthropomorphize the lamp by making it appear to shiver; at the same time, he emphasizes that the lamp is conveying these emotional cues entirely through “natural” means, because the viewer can discern that the lamp isn’t actually shivering, but is instead being blown around by the wind.

3) He transitions into the next shot with a cross fade to convey that time has elapsed within the same set/scenery. Again, the rain is the lamp’s emotions, only further intensified now that the reality of situation has set in. Next, Jonez depicts the lamp’s nostalgia, by having the camera zoom in on the lamp’s head as it is subtly illuminated by some nearby light (a bleak reminder of its former life, which also establishes that the lamp has been replaced).

4) There is a back and forth exchange between shots of the lamps “looking” at each other, suggesting that they are understanding of the other’s situation (this is conveyed through the slow, “unthreatening” zoom of each lamp’s gaze). Both lamps have a mutual acknowledgement of the inevitable fate of worthlessness that all appliances must face; this is suggested when both lamps are bathed in darkness as the owner switches off the new lamp (bit of a stretch).

5) In the last shot, the drooping posture of the lamp’s head conveys a human-form of despair.

My take on an intended message:
All of the emotional cues are conveyed thorough postures/motions that a lamp can make on the accord of ordinary physical interactions. Jonze continually points this out as a means to build up to the punch line (this is just a lamp and it was all along). Although he presents this humorously, Jonze is sending a potent message to the viewer: that the use of amplification through abstraction can have an observer suspend their disbelief regardless of their willingness. Also, by showing that this abstraction is facilitated through ordinary interactions, he is poking fun at the idea of an emotional response from abstraction, showing that it is a response that shouldn’t be genuine since it was produced from fake/deceptive/non-real imagery and cinematography.

By merely suggesting a feeling with an abstract symbol, such as the curvature of a lamp stand, the audience can easily understand and relate to the intended emotion because of its simple, universal representation. Since the emotional cues are transparent and direct, there is no ambiguity. As a consequence, the observer associates emotion with the character regardless of whether they want to believe something like a lamp can have feelings or not. This leads to an amplified emotional response in the observer because they thoroughly understand what the character is supposed to be feeling; this understanding makes empathy so much easier.

csv April 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm

This advertisement has fairly created an emotion of abject rejection and left alone feeling in some harsh weather conditions, a situation where most of the human beings will express some kind of sympathy even for inanimate objects.

The time compression has been effectively used in the ad. Every shot starting from the
beginning shows some of human like emotions. Example, the emotionless woman taking away the emotional lamp expressing attachment. Windy, rains, and deserted street views perfectly show that the weather conditions were really harsh. Careless and total rejection was shown with one person walking on the street without looking at the lamp. One of the nice shot is closeup from behind the lamp.

Elegiacal music augments the emotions of rejection in the lamp. But the strongest part of the ad is the lightening the bulb showing the light to a pedestrian, showing that it was still useful.

Making ads is extremely fine art and it is nearly impossible to match the expectations of every individual, and I have many reasons to believe that it is not one of the best ads that I have seen, but I will skip that issue.

sgallege April 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

The initial medium shot works as an establishing shot which show the lamps place in the living room among the other furniture. The music plays a big role throughout the ad in setting up the sad/ lonely mood. The close shot of the lamp looking over the woman’s shoulder followed by the lamp’s point of view shot that tracks away from the living room clearly conveys the feeling of leaving the familiar surroundings or home. The hand held (moving shot) and the fact that the movement is from being carried over the shoulder give the feeling that the lamp is not moving out on purpose.

The color palette of inside and the outside by the curb is cleverly chosen as the house has warm and cozy (reddish) colors and the outside has cold harsh colors. The over the shoulder shot of the women leaving the lamp, walking into the house and closing the door behind her gives the feeling of abandonment. The shallow depth of field emphasizes the lamp and give the feeling that it’s alone in the world now. The rain and the night fall add to the harshness and misery of being on the curb all alone.

The tracking/zooming in shots draw the attention to the lamps and the alternating cuts to show the new lamp in the house and the old lamp on the street clearly contrasting the different situation that the two lamps are in and give the feeling that the old lamp is reminiscing about the days it was in the living room and was part of the family. The reflected light going off and the women’s touch on the new lamp further drives home the idea that the new lamp is the favorite now and the old lamp has really been replaced.

Reid April 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm

In the first shot the view zooms in on the lamp with somber music playing in the background throughout the rest of the ad to set the mood.

Next the camera follows the woman as she carries the lamp through the hallway. The lamp is positioned so that it is ‘looking’ back towards the room it is being carried out of. This is followed with a shot of that room as the camera moves backwards out of it, giving the impression the shot is from the lamps point of view. Taking the lamps point of view begins the process of having the viewer identify with the lamp as a living being rather than static object (static objects don’t have points of view).

The next shot shows the woman placing the lamp on a dirty sidewalk along with a bag of trash, indicating the lamp is no longer wanted. The following shot has the lamp in the foreground ‘looking’ towards the woman as she walks away, heightening the sense of abandonment. The lamp is also visibly moved by wind, which gives the sense that it is shaking which gives the sense that it is upset, possibly crying, from the events taking place.

After this is a slow pan into the lamp at night during rain. This further communicates the feeling of abandonment while suddenly a glow appears on the lamp. This is followed with several shots panning into either the new lamp in the window from the old lamps perspective, or from the new lamp towards the old. The woman is positioned in these shots so that it looks as if she has her arm around the new lamp and is facing towards it, almost as if a conversation were taking place. This serves to communicate a sense of dejection from the old lamp that it has been replaced, which assuming the viewer is now identified with the lamp is a bad thing as most people would not enjoy being ‘replaced’ within the household. In the last of these the glow on the old lamp vanishes followed by a shot where the woman touches the new lamp as if to caress it. Finally the old lamp is shown, now bent as if staring at the ground, communicating a sense of hopelessness and depression.

Jim Hill April 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Shot 1 – lamp is unplugged by owner.

The camera zooms in from a medium shot to a close up to focus on the lamp and establishes an owner of the lamp. Initially the lamp is on, the act of unplugging the lamp indicates a lack of any care for the lamp at all; instead of turning the lamp off, it’s plug is ripped from the wall. The actor doesn’t seem to care how the lamp is handled, grabbing it by the “spine” and carrying it away. Initially the lamp has a warm orange glow, when it is unplugged it goes dark.

The music is sombre and foreboding.

Shot 2 – over the shoulder shot of the lamp being carried away

The director begins to personify the lamp in this shot and the next. This shot is either a close up or an extreme close up of the lamp. The lamp is given human characteristics in that the direction the bulb is facing is the direction that the lamp is looking. While not as prevalent, the lamp is also seen as having a hunched spine. This shot jumps to the next.

Shot 3 – View of the lamps old spot

In this shot, the camera slowly zooms out while focusing on the table that the lamp once occupied. We can see this in the old position, the lamp was probably used for reading and would have felt like a good companion to the owner offering many hours of light. This shot provides the last view of the lamps home as seen by the lamp itself as it is carried away. The lamp view is reinforced by the fact that the zoom is not smooth.

Shot 4 – exiting the apartment

This shot transitions the scene from the warm colored interior to a dreary and grey outside. The lamp is in shadow and has one last look into the apartment. We also see that the wind is blowing and the owner is wearing a coat suggesting that it is cold out.

Shot 5 – Dropping the lamp

The owner drops the lamp on the curb outside. The owner also drops a bag of garbage next to the lamp to signify that the lamp is, in fact, garbage to the owner. The dropping of the lamp reinforces the idea that the owner doesn’t care about the lamp.

Shot 6 – The lamp watches the owner go back into the apartment

This can best be described as an over the shoulder shot from the lamps view point. Again, the direction the lamp faces is used to make it seem like the lamp is watching the owner. The focus remains on the lamp through the entire shot as the owner closes the apartment door. The lamp also sways a little in the wind. This shot establishes the idea that the lamp is truly being abandoned. This shot dissolves into the next shot to show that a significant period of time has passed (day to night)

Shot 7 – The lamp in the rain

This shot starts with a long shot of the lamp. This makes the lamp look small and alone. It is also night and raining which adds to the sadness of the lamps situation. The lamp is very isolated, not even the garbage can or the bag is next to it, this gives the impression of being truly alone. The shot zooms in and changes to a shot of the window of the apartment where the lamp once stood.

Shot 8 – The lamp is replaced

This shot shows that not only has the lamp been abandoned, it has also been replaced by a nicer looking model. The owner is shown sitting on the couch next to the replacement lamp.

Shot 9 – The lamp from the window

This shot shows the old lamp from the new lamps perspective. This shot shows the difference between the old lamp and the new lamp, i.e. the shot is taken inside where it is warm and cozy but through the window we can see how the old lamp is suffering. This is a very long shot of the old lamp and serves to make it look even smaller. The fact that the lap is facing the down seems to suggest that the lamp has accepted it’s fate although it’s a very sad lamp.

The shots switch between the view from the window and the view from the street. The view from the window does not zoom much but the view from the street gets very close to the window. This might suggest that the lamp inside doesn’t really care about the lamp outside while the lamp outside wants desperately to be inside. From the outside shot, it looks like the old lamp is turned off but we soon see that this is really just the reflection from the new lamp being turned off. The next shot shows the new lamp in the off positions and the owner touches the lamp as if admiring the newness of it.

Shot 10 (sort of)

This shot starts with a medium shot and moves back into a long shot. The lamp’s spine is much more bent than before, and then lack of light enforces the idea that the lamp has given up hope. Through the entire video, we are looking for a happy ending. We can not believe that such a good lamp could be treated in such a horrible way. The appearance of a man gives a glimmer of hope. Maybe he is looking for a lamp! Maybe this lamp can serve a new owner.

Unfortunately that’s where Ikea decided to call the viewer crazy. It’s kind of funny, but not really.

Michael Correll April 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm

The commercial begins with a gradual zoom in on the lamp, with the human face barely out of frame (at no point in the commercial [other than at the end] is a human face both in frame and in focus). The lamp is the “heaviest” object in the composition (it is brightest and in the one of the lower intersections formed by the rule of thirds). For nearly all of the commercial the lamp is either the heaviest object, in one of the two lower lines of intersection from the rule of thirds, or it is the center (or near center) of the shot. The gradual zoom in focuses the attention on the lamp.

The cut to the “lamp’s POV” as it is moving out of the room further places the audience in the perspective of the lamp (literally in this case). The shot is also slowly zooming out of the apartment, the shot tilted downwards slightly to give a greater sense of intimacy (lines of perspective pointed towards the viewer instead of away). As we recede these lines straighten out, and the placement of furniture towards the window but with very little else in the apartment makes the viewers only real reference points recede as well.

The next shot of the outside is much cooler compared to the warm interior lights. There also appears to be either a blue filter or some general desaturation (perhaps both) to increase the warm/cool divide. The inside is inviting, the outside is not. Once again we zoom in on the lamp slightly (almost a reaction shot), and when we view the house again after the cut it is “over the shoulder”, emphasizing the lamp’s “line of sight” and the receding house. The house moves out of focus while the lamp remains in focus.

The lamp is posed so as to “sag” in the rain. The lamp’s redness is subdued in the gray outside, but it is still the brightest object and so a natural point of attraction for the eye. Darkness, rain, and posture denote sadness.

There are a series of cuts between the old lamp and the new lamp. The new lamp is lit (and lights) warmly, and the woman’s interactions are in almost in silhouette. The cuts back and forth emphasize the disparity as well as create a narrative of jealousy. The woman’s movements are always “pointed” towards the lamp, the silhouetted action implying ambiguity. The old lamp is “jealous,” a perception that is heightened when the shot of it turning off comes right before the new lamp being shut off by the woman. We contrast the two scenes visually.

The last segment of the commercial (before the entry of the narrator) begins with a tight shot of the old lamp, with a slightly angled pull back to take in the surrounding buildings, none of which seem populated (all have drawn shutters or black windows). The tilt points the perspective lines away from the viewer, emphasizing distance scale.

sghosh April 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm

The commercial begins with the lamp in focus. The first shot is a pretty fast paced, the one in which the person rips off the lamp’s cable. It gives you the feeling that she is in a hurry to get rid of the lamp as soon as possible.

The next few shots are comparatively slow paced – these shots tell you the long and painful journey of the lamp from the warm, cosy home to the world outside. The woman carries the lamp on the shoulder just like a caring mother cradles her little kid on her shoulder. The shot from the lamp’s view point, I guess, is the most emotional one – it’s equivalent to the end scenes of movies in which the hero dies and he re-lives all the great moments in his life in a short painful moment. The lamp takes a look at that corner of the house in which it has spent so many happy moment for one last time.

Outside the house it is cold and windy – not some place the lamp is used to. The act of placing the garbage next to the lamp shows that the lamp has really lost all its value – just a few moments ago it was an important member of all the furniture in the room. The last few frames in which the owner shuts the door (while the lamp shakes in the wind) act like the final nails to the coffin. The lamp has finally died a slow painful death.

In the next shot we see the lamp still ‘standing’ outside with a drooping head, now in the rain. There is a stark difference between the warm inside of the house and the cold, harsh and miserable world outside. The lamp now finds that its previous owner has got a replacement. We then take a look at the new lamp through the eyes of the old lamp. This is the most painful scene – makes you feel that the lamp is going through hopelessness, nostalgia and maybe some jealousy to see it’s replacement and the care with which the owner treats it (switches it off).

I also believe that the last shot in which the stranger says that there is no sense in having emotional feelings for a lamp is a clever way by which the director deliberately points to you that you were feeling emotional for the lamp (incase you hadn’t realized it already).

adrm April 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

In the first shot (establishing shot) we see the red lamp as a person walking into the room would see it, then just as the movement of the camera and the placement of the lamp makes us focus on it, it is turned off and yanked from its place.

The next shot is from behind the the woman taking the lamp out, this time closer, but still foll0wing behind.

The third shot is from the perspective of the lamp, as it “looks” back into the living room it once lit. At this point we are 7 seconds in, and with three shots, the director has make the audience go from being a casual observer, to actually feeling like being the lamp. The synchronization with the music helps all of this.

The next shot begins from close and behind the woman again, but this time we (the audience/viewer) do not follow. This makes once have a feeling of being left behind, or abandonment.

The next two shots establish the lamps new place, on the street, next to the garbage can. Again, we start out and move into behind the lamp.

The next shot with the rain (26 s) begins from afar, all dark with the lamp barely visible. Suddenly there is a light. The light can make one feel hope (bright spot in the darkness). But the next shot shows that the light is merely a reflection of the light coming from the new lamp. This shot is from far away, as if we were pinning to be in the new lamps place.

The next couple of shots switch between viewpoints of the lamps, as they see each other. This made me feel a sort of connection between the lamps, one lamp looking at the once that it replaced.

Eventually we see the light disappear from the red lamp outside. This and the next shot, were we see the new lamp off, being “caressed” by the owner can give a sense of resignation.

Finally, we leave the lamp, starting close zooming out as we see its place next to the trash once again. Eventually a person walks by (wow a person, in the center of the shot! its the first time!) The punch line makes the audience feel silly, but it drives the point home even more.

Leslie April 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

– The music throughout the ad is probably the most obvious trick to making the viewer have an emotional response (eg fear/anxiety when the woman was carrying the lamp to the curb and sadness thereafter).
– The weather outside is windy (which has the side effect of making the lamp shake like it’s shivering) and rainy.
– The lighting and color schemes change dramatically inside and outside the apartment. Inside it’s warm and inviting; outside it’s cool and harsh.
– The commercial starts with the woman carrying the first lamp out over her shoulder like a baby, so it looks like it depends on her and she’s abandoning it when she leaves it outside.
– No people’s faces were shown until the end of the commercial. People are kind of tuned in to other people’s faces, so they may have overshadowed whatever emotional response the viewer was supposed to be attributing to the lamp.

Danielle April 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

There were three factors that stood out to me as the emotion pulls of the ad:

1) The music set the tone for the ad. Slow, somber piano music instills a sense of depression which sets the mood for the piece. Since music can have incredible emotive power over the viewer, it makes sense that this particular technique was used to manipulate the viewer’s emotions.

2) The environment was set at night on an isolated street corner near garbage in the rain. Not only is the darkness of night a somber enough motif, the rain contributes to the negativity of the setting and the garbage makes the viewer feel as if the lamp is now discarded and worthless (as the ending of the ad suggests).

3) The postures of the lamp and the replacement also play a role in setting the tone for the ad. The discarded lamp is posed in a curved posture, like a human whose back is hunched under the weight of sorrow and emotion, whereas the new lamp’s shadow is fully upright (reflective of pride). This juxtaposition of pose carries a heavy tone through a subtle cue, making the viewer “feel” for the discarded lamp.

Nathan Mitchell April 22, 2011 at 12:08 am

Ikea Lamp Commercial Breakdown

Shot 1 (00:00.000 – 00:03.129)

In this shot the viewers are introduced to the
first two main characters in this film. The old
lamp is depicted lit in its home where the
combination of a warm palette and soft light from
the lamp gives the impression of a safe,
comfortable place.

Then the woman appears and introduces the conflict
of the film by unplugging the lamp and removing it
from its home (ie the table). It is important to
note that the lamp at this point is functioning
perfectly, as this will help develop sympathy
later. In particular, there is no obvious reason
for the woman to remove the lamp.

Shot 2 (00:03.129 – 00:05.394)

Here we see the lamp being carried from the room
by the woman, from the perspective of behind the
woman looking forward.

The important bit about this shot is the direction
the lamp is facing. By facing into the room, it
gives the appearance of looking back longingly, a
distinctly sad emotion that should be familiar to
any viewer. This continues to build sympathy for
the lamp, but we don’t yet fully realize the
extent of its plight.

Shot 3 (00:05.394 – 00:08.457)

In a continuation of Shot 2, we continue leaving
the room, but now from the perspective of the
lamp. This forces the viewer to see the world as
the lamp sees it. As the woman walks back to the
door, the effect of the room receding can generate
feelings of loss.

In particular the room appears visibly duller when
compared to the first Shot. This is a clear
visible indication that something has been lost
from the space, that it has been diminished.

Shot 4 (00:08.457 – 00:11.387)

In this Shot the woman opens the door to outside
and carries the lamp down the front steps. For the
first time we begin to get an impression of the
lamp’s fate, and it isn’t a pleasant one. The
weather is cold and rainy looking, and from the
woman’s hair we can tell it is rather windy. The
color palette has also changed from a warmer set
to a much cooler set, which invokes more negative
emotions, or in the case of the lamp, sympathy.

Shot 5 (00:11.387 – 00:14.517)

In this Shot the lamp is dropped unceremoniously
on the curb with a bag of garbage. Key here is the
lack of any visible signs of remorse or regret
from the woman.

Shot 6 (00:14.517 – 00:21.443)

The woman then leaves the lamp and returns inside
without looking back. Besides these obvious clues
of dismissal, there are also a few more subtle

Although the lamp is not a animate object, at this
point the viewer may be accepting that it is
one. Thus the effect of the wind blowing against
the lamp creates the impression of it shivering in
the cold, imagery that is quite powerful.

Also the shot concludes with the door being
closed. The closing action is quite dramatic with
a noticeable thud as the door shuts, driving home
the point that the lamp has been thrown out.

Shot 7 (00:21.443 – 00:25.869)

This Shot is faded in from the last Shot, which
creates a sense of slow passage of time from when
the lamp was put out till late at night. This is
sad as the lamp has been sitting in the cold,
rainy weather all day.

The shot concludes with the lamp appearing to
light dimly, invoking a possible sense of hope.

Shot 8 (00:25.869 – 00:31:965)

The hope from the last shot is thoroughly dashed
in this Shot as the dim light is revealed to be a
reflection from the new lamp now in the house. The
shot zooms slightly upwards towards the window,
creating the impression that the lamp is looking
longingly towards its former home.

Shot 9 (00:31:965 – 00:34.829)

Next we see the world from the other perspective
as the old lamp is seen from the window inside the
house. This shot could invoke feelings of guilt as
the viewer is from the perspective of the new lamp
in a warm room looking out at what you just
replaced and threw to the street. This may also
create the impression that the new lamp is
gloating over its ascension.

Shot 10 (00:34.829 – 00:38.225)

This is a short shot from the old lamp’s
perspective again. This and the few shots
surrounding it help reinforce the new order in the
world and how the old lamp has fallen.

Shot 11 (00:38.225 – 00:40.956)

In this shot the light goes out, giving the
impression that the last glimmer of hope is
gone. We see the camera zoom towards the old lamp,
now completely dark and ignored by passersby. No
one seems to care for an old lamp.

Shot 12 (00:40.956 – 00:44.619)

In this shot we are looking up towards the window
again as the woman leaves the darkened
room. However, before she goes, she adds insult to
injury by giving the new lamp a loving touch.

In many ways this invokes feelings of a human
drama where one person leaves a relationship for
another, while the first person is forced to watch
feelings develop that used to be his/hers.

Shot 13 (00:44.619 – 00:57.472)

In this Shot the lamp is at its most dejected
state. Compared with when it was first dropped on
the curb, the world is now dark, the lamp is dark,
and very subtly bent over ( it was straight when
dropped off). Combined the scene reflects one of
total despair.

Then we get the punch line. The Ikea
representative appears and informs us in a very
clear and reasonable tone that we the viewers are
all crazy for anthropomorphizing this lamp and
attaching feelings to it, even though the entire
film has been telling us otherwise.

I believe the point here was to build up the
emotions of the viewers and then by bluntly
dismissing them attempt to convince them that the
emotions really were silly. If the Ikea
representative had allowed any sympathy at all to
show during that speech, people might have decided
that the old lamps in their living rooms really
were worth keeping, if only for emotional

Shot 14 (00:57.472 – 00:59.869)

The final shot of the film displays the Ikea logo
on a gray background with the word “unboring”
below. This probably refers to the new products
they are selling, like the fancy new lamp, and
also to their general approach as seen by the
style of advertisement they use.

sandrist April 22, 2011 at 12:44 am

Shot 1:
The viewer’s very first impressions. We appear to be in an apartment. Sombre music sets an immediate mellow emotional tone. Focus is on the lamp, glowing and red. We slowly zoom towards it, indicating that it, not the person about to unplug it, should be the focus our attention. It is unplugged in a careless, almost violent way.

Shot 2:
We follow at close-range the lamp being carried away. A feeling that this lamp is a true character, not just an inanimate object, first begins to take hold. The lamp is “looking back” to its previous home.

Shot 3:
From the perspective of the lamp, we look back on where it used to sit, as this location becomes more and more distant. By this point it is very clear who the main character of this little story is.

Shot 4:
Again looking straight at the lamp as it hangs over the person’s shoulder. The lamp and person become dark silhouettes, and the new setting – a cold, grey, windy, “outside world” – is introduced.

Shot 5:
The shot stays focused on the curb, as the owner drops the lamp (and some garbage) into frame. The lamp has completely passed out of the life of its owner, and we the viewers are given the sense that we’re the only beings left who still know or care about its existence.

Shot 6:
Now we are looking over the lamp’s “shoulder” as its previous owner walks away without looking back. The red of the lamp, as well as the focus, creates a stark contrast between the lamp and its harsh new environment.

Shot 7:
Medium-long shot of the lamp still on the curb, now at night in the rain. The lamp looks small and helpless, and a deep melancholy pervades the scene.

Shot 8:
Looking up from the lamp’s perspective at its previous home. A long, slow zoom conveys a sense of longing to be home and happy again.

Shot 9:
Looking down at the lamp from the apartment’s perspective. No particular character’s perspective (neither the person nor the new lamp face the window), just another reminder of the smallness and helplessness of the poor forgotten lamp.

Shots 10-12:
Alternating looking up at the apartment and down at the lamp, cementing the dichotomy between the warm apartment with shiny new lamp and the cold dark exterior with the sad forgotten protagonist. The light from the new lamp goes out, causing everything, including the old lamp, to go just a little bit darker. This indicates that all hope is lost.

Shot 13:
We start close on the lamp, at about its height, and begin receding away. Presumably this is the end of the lamp’s story (this is the first time the camera has ever moved away from the lamp instead of towards it), and it’s not a happy one.

And then… boom! The slow build-up of the lamp’s characterization as a sympathetic, sad, forgotten little soul (the situation of which is one of most people’s biggest fears) is shattered. All around, beautifully done.

raja April 24, 2011 at 5:59 am

My thoughts on Ikea’s lamp commercial:

It starts out with the lamp in the ON state and nice weather outside.
The lady in the video kind of forcefully removes the plug (apparently doesn’t use the “on/off” button on the lamp, which i feel adds to the brutality!).

The first person view of the lamp with melancholic music conveys so much emotion and starts to make the user feel for the lamp.
The small movements in the lamp’s first person view and the focus on what used to be its table coupled with the sudden windy/gloom weather starts to get the user immersed into the advertisement.

Now, with the lamp’s “thoughts” firmly in the watcher’s mind, the lady “uncaringly” places the lamp on the ground next to a garbage bag!
Oh, the atrocities for having served her for all those years/months!
All this has happened in 15 seconds.

The lamp, all alone in the wind and rain, the night and some sad piano notes with the focus on the lamp and its surroundings makes you feel more for this poor lamp. We’re 30 seconds down.

Then, the killer blow! Watch a new one take its place (as though its the old one looking at it..) and then, focusing back on the old lamp.
As the new lamp is turned off, the disappearance of light from the scene (and on the old lamp) makes you feel miserable.

The ending is totally hilarious though. A fantastic, immersive advertisement that uses camera view/focus techniques, lighting, weather, sound to accentuate the scene and convey the emotion for a completely lifeless object such as a lamp in a minute.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: