Creative Director’s Choice: Framestore's Chris Waitt on Ryan Reynolds' Toon Blast ads

Ryan Reynolds in one of his many Toon Blast ads

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Chris Waitt, director and filmmaker at Framestore Pictures, talks up the Ryan Reynolds-fronted spots for the cartoon puzzle app Toon Blast.

Like many other millions of people, I stumbled on the Ryan Reynolds Toon Blast commercials by chance. They were among the usual slew of paid ads on YouTube. My mouse hung over the ‘Skip Ad’ button as the first five seconds ticked by. But, tellingly, I didn’t click it.

Many paid ads use fast pacing and zaniness to try to grab your attention in those precious first seconds. This didn’t. The Toon Blast commercials, for the most part, have very slow openings, and use a serious tone to lure you in. Of course, the presence of a comedic superstar of the stature of Ryan Reynolds certainly does no harm, but in the end, it’s the comic payoffs that make these spots so worth the watch.

The comic mode used in them is an extreme deadpan, a mock-serious tone, that is punctured by various versions of the comedic device known as ‘pull back and reveal’ – where a vital piece of information is withheld, then revealed in the closing moments of the piece – with explosive comic effect.

Like Deadpool, which the teeny tone in these spots resembles, there is a self-reflexive meta-humor too, as they are largely played out on a film/commercials set with Ryan playing himself, which makes them feel smart, sassy and super modern.

Within minutes, far from clicking the ‘Skip Ad’ button, I was actively going in search of every Toon Blast commercial that existed – and there are quite a lot of them. In time I also discovered that these commercials were sharp for good reason – they were directed by the brilliant Tom Kuntz. And they have all the hallmarks of Kuntz’s precise, cool shooting style which lets the humor play center stage. The result – an extreme deadpan with a shot of Deadpool – that is hilarious and supercool. It even persuaded me to download Toon Blast.

Chris Waitt is a filmmaker and director at Framestore Pictures.

See some of the spots by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

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