back in January I posted on JJ Abrams idea of Mystery Boxes; that the intentional withholding of information is much more engaging than giving someone the whole story... that sometimes mystery is more important than knowledge. I suggested that in comunications planning we're too obsessed with giving consumers information and resolution... instead we need to more often give them some questions, some intrigue.
I was reminded of this thinking recently when I caught the above ad for Visa. it opens with a big fat mystery box; a panicked guy running naked thru a desert. how come he's there? why's he naked? where's he running to? lots of questions... which in short mean you keep on watching the ad.
it's a great ad, but it could have been a lot braver with it's media... why did they have to give the whole thing away in 30 seconds? they could have top and tailed it - extending the mystery box across the ad break or even across a whole TV show. and if they'd been really brave, they could have teased the ad for a week without showing the resolution.
by resolving the mystery box so soon, Visa have missed out on sparking a multitude of conversations, roughly around the theme of "why's man running naked thru the desert with nothing but a Visa card?"
a great ad which missed out on being a brilliant piece of communication because it played to the conventions of a TV spot... conventions are there for a reason, but sometimes they're there to be broken...