Cannes in Context: Ok Go’s “Upside Down & Inside Out”

When weightless advertising is grounded in authenticity.

by Elizabeth Marks , MayDream: AdForum / The Epica Awards











This week AdForum celebrates Cannes Lions by analyzing the best creative work from the ad industry in 2015. To complement our special Cannes-themed editions of our Top 5 series, AdForum’s Global President Liz Marks takes an in-depth look at individual ads that made an impact this year.

It turns out one of the most creative forces in the advertising world this past year was actually a band. The alternative American rock band Ok Go, from Chicago, has earned a reputation for creating visually explosive videos that feature impossibly choreographed routines and an uncanny knack for exploiting technology and the power of “viral” on social media. The band’s latest offering “Upside Down & Inside Out” takes creative advertising to another level – seriously, like the stratosphere, where there is no gravity.

Today’s consumers are more tech-savvy and cynical than ever when it comes to advertisers competing for their time and attention. Ok Go, however, has managed to penetrate this protective veil of sarcasm by achieving, consistently, that ever-elusive quality considered gold in advertising: authenticity.

Ok Go’s video “Upside Down & Inside Out” respects consumers by offering them a solid pay off for their time. The band clearly invests ungodly amounts of time, planning, practice, and creative sweat into each of their unforgettable videos, and “Upside Down & Inside Out” is no exception. The video, which was recorded on board a Russian company S7 Airlines’ zero-gravity plane, is a colorful and genuinely fun carnival of weightless antics and meticulous pop ballet that is visually stunning and makes many of us in advertising – even at our creative best – feel a little unimaginative and short on courage. In fact, the closest many of us will get to weightlessness at Cannes will involve sleep deprivation and plenty of rosé. But perhaps equal amounts of fun.