I Could Use Your Input

The Human Element

I’m writing a “day job” article about this television ad. I would be very interested in knowing what you think of it. Also, let me know if you have seen this ad before. I will not use anything you write in the article without your permission–I probably won’t use anything from here. This is to help me get a sense of how this ad campaign is being received (It’s best to respond before reading other comments).


Here’s the article. I didn’t get into your responses, but it helped to know them when I wrote it. Thanks for all your input.

16 Responses to “I Could Use Your Input”

  1. Todd Says:

    If only the human element touched Earth so gently, and thoughtfully. Very nicely done, sort of Ken Burns-ish, and no mention that Dow now owns Union Carbide. I wonder how this would play in Bhopal India?

  2. WendyWings Says:

    Here from Micheles, I can’t say I have seen this before but then again I am in New Zealand so that is understandable 🙂
    I like it ( well as much as I like any advertising)
    I like it more when I am IN them and they pay me for sitting around all day pretending to waiting for a parade , easy working day lol.

  3. Carmi Says:

    Gorgeous imagery wrapped around a thoughtful script and paced by a this-side-of-emotional soundtrack. It’s gorgeous in its overall effect, but not in the heart-racing Microsoft People-Ready Business kind of way.

    I have always respected the image-focused message as a platform for a company to bare its soul because it isn’t busy trying to sell anything. It’s the kind of message that – to me, anyway – stands out among the never-ending bombardment of messages and is remembered for a little longer than is the norm.

    I always wonder why the actual raison d’etre of the message – in this case, the Dow brand – is introduced only way at the end. I realize it’s the exclamation point to the soft, sweet message that precedes it. But unless there’s additional follow-on messaging that builds on this theme, it’s hard to see where this would ultimately go.

    Also, language choice – synapse, for example – is a little rich for a mass audience. I got it in spades, but if this were broadcast during an episode of Lost, I wonder if anyone else would – or if they’d even stick around instead of fetching more potato chips from the pantry.

    Either way, this class of message has an important place in the medium of marketing. This is exceptionally well produced. How it is restructured will determine whether it can actually hit its audience and keep its branding message front and center withouth being compromised.

    Thanks for sharing this. I hope I’ve shed a bit of light on my perspective. Thanks for the invite!

  4. Kizz Says:

    I watched it and thought of comments and JUST before the end I thought, “What the hell is this advertising?” Just then, of course, it flashed its little Dow logo and I thought, “Yeah, right, the human element is at the top of Dow’s list of important things to preserve.” So, before I found out who it was by I thought the pictures were pretty and I really liked the kid in the pink with the first Hu symbol superimposed over him/her. The line about how the human element is change was my first turn to they cynical – I just read that CO2 article about the oceans in the Nov 17th New Yorker and dude, humans are the change and the change is super bad. So all in all, it’s a very pretty commercial that doesn’t fit at all with what I perceive the company to be doing.

  5. Kizz Says:

    OK, I purposely commented before reading anyone else’s comments. Now I’ve read theirs. This was the first time I’d seen the ad. Yes, it does look like a very expensive and beautifully produced piece, which leads me to ask, if they’ve got enough money for this mightn’t they spend a portion of that glut on environmental issues instead?

  6. mrschili Says:

    I thought it was a lovely ad, until I figured out that it was for a chemical company. I have an inherent mistrust of big companies in general, and big chemical companies specifically.

    I often wonder why huge conglomerates feel the need to advertise to the public. I remember my husband commenting about the ads for BASF – why the hell did they feel the need to advertise, he wondered, when consumers don’t purchase from BASF directly? It seemed manipulative in some sinister way, and we never quite understood it.

    The ad itself DOES play out like a Ken Burns production. The combination of the music and the ever-shifting images is compelling, and it had a very approachable feel to it. I almost feel as though it’s a recruiting film – come and work for us, for we believe that nothing is more important than the “human element.”

    It sure is catchy, but I maintain my deep-rooted cynicism about the ad, though – what is it they want me to think/feel/believe by showing me those images? I don’t really buy anything directly from Dow (right? I mean, my tub cleaner has the Dow logo on it, but they direct market my tub cleaner, correct?) I’m not a chemist, so I have zero potential to work there. Am I even their target market for this ad? It leaves me with more questions than answers.

    I don’t think I’ve said ANYTHING useful to you here, but if I have, you’re more than welcome to use it in your work…



  7. mrschili Says:

    That’s “they DON”T direct market my tub cleaner.” Sorry…

  8. srp Says:

    Here from Michele.
    The video is lovely. Unfortunately my computer is having difficulty with the sound right now. With everything turned up as high as it will go I get minimal sound. So am not much help.

  9. OldOldLady Of The Hills Says:

    I’m here from Michele’s tonight… When you call this an “AD” I am not sure what they are selling and why…is it “The Human Equation”? It is interesting, sort of, but it seems to me it needs something more visually to go with what is being said to make me understand the point f this…At least that is how I recieved it….Besides telling me that the input of a “human’ changes anything or everything…Why are they telling me this? Not clear to me…I haven’t learned anything I don’t already know. Nothing new has been said or shown…(Operative word–shown…) to me….
    Again, I don’t know if there is a deeper point to this…cause if there is, I’m not getting it.
    Don’t know if this is helpful, but it is my reaction to it, Rick.

  10. Pearl Says:

    The first third was tingly beautiful but then when people came in I was getting skeptical at the man is great angle. Nice recovery in the we learned smelting to change elements aspect. Still lovely music and images to close. Transitioning the hu of human to dow seemed a bit of a stretch. It seems to be a feel good message attempt but how it related to a chemical plastics firm didn’t really connect up for me.

  11. kenju Says:

    I have not seen it, Rick. It is beautiful and serene, but I am skeptical of ads like this by chemical or pharmaceutical companies. I always think they are trying to hide something by making themselves look caring.

    From a technical standpoint, the music is just loud enough to drown out most of the sound for me.

  12. a rose is a rose Says:

    i like your new home!

  13. Carroll Says:

    Initial thoughts..”wow, beautiful”…I began to like it less when the people came into view, although of course realized that people were a crucial component for the “human element” angle…didn’t start to wonder until close to the end what it was all “about” (your mention that it was a commercial had escaped my consciousness while I was watching it, and no, have not seen it previously) so I was most of the time thinking it was a promo of some sort for a semi-technical chemical thing of some sort. Then came “Oh, Dow!” followed by a (skeptical) mental “Hmm…they probably had some sort of ‘responsible advertising’ quota to fill”. Did it rather nicely overall, however (IMO)

  14. colleen Says:

    It’s intriguing and beautiful to watch, but the end just ruined it for me: DOW. What are they after, I wondered? There’s a bumper sticker I saw on a clear cut logging rig that said “Every day is Earth Day.” So I’m thinking doublespeak. Like using sex to sell cigarettes.

  15. Shell Says:

    Yes, I’ve seen the ad; no I haven’t the slightest idea what it’s for. It’s pretty. It mentions chemistry–usually scary topic–I flunked chemistry. Probably not the kind of thing that you were looking for.

    Hmmm. Warm and fuzzy chemistry. That’s all I got. Too much chemistry baggage for me I suspect.

  16. Roger Says:

    Global Warming…

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