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“This is a Generic Brand Video”: Satire or How-To?

At McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, writer Kendra Eash published a poem, “This is a Generic Brand Video,” satirizing (or maybe just noticing?) the pleasant, fuzzy, vaguely neoliberal language of brand videos. Language like this:

In today’s high speed environment,
Stop motion footage of a city at night
With cars turning quickly
Makes you think about doing things efficiently
And time passing.

Lest you think we’re a faceless entity,
Look at all these attractive people.
Here’s some of them talking and laughing
And close-ups of hands passing canned goods to each other
In a setting that evokes community service.

Now, the folks at Dissolve Footage have, brilliantly, turned her poem into… yes, a generic brand video. It’s also a crafty bit of advertising because all the footage is available to license from their library. And, it might finally be an instructional video for any filmmaker tasked with crafting pleasing, non-confrontational messaging for any product or service, world-improving or nefarious.

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