Friday, September 09, 2005

Invictus, Literature and Neil French

My brother, a thorough advertising man, introduced to me the pleasures of the mind of Neil French. He said I would learn about a writing style completely different from my own. He was right.

Fascinating man, Neil French. According to Ihaveanidea, French has been a "
rent collector, account executive, advertising manager, waiter, singer, matador, beach-bum, pornographer, bouncer, debt-collector, concert promoter, nightclub owner, Judas Priests' rock-band manager, copywriter, art-director, creative director, film director, actor, television station owner, Worldwide Creative Director of Ogilvy and most recently, Godfather and Worldwide Creative Director of WPP."

I am overawed by the range of his experience. This is a guy you want to sit down and get bloody hammered with! But to get to the point, French is engaging and funny. And a thumping good writer! I would seriously recommend (if not outright insist on!) exploring his website.

The ad campaign closest to French's heart is the Union Bank of Switzerland campaign. And after having seen all the films, I can see why. To emphasize the base line of the campaign, Here Today. Here Tomorrow, famous (and outstanding!) actors read timeless pieces of literature that make your soul ache like only great literature can.

While exploring the films, I was introduced to this poem of William Ernest Henly called Invictus. It touched something truly deep within me and I should like very much to share it with you.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole.
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Beneath the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the goal.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Please see Alan Bates read it. The download is about 2 MB and is called The Master of my Fate. In my opinion, this truly will be worth your time. And this is not the only one you should view. Check out all if you have the time but my recommendations are:
  • Alan Bates - The Road Less Travelled
  • Sir John Geilgud: Ulysses
  • Dame Maggie Smith: Discern
  • Dame Maggie Smith: Bag of Tools
  • Ben Kingsley: Ozymandias
  • Sir Paul Schofield: The Ballad of East and West
  • Sir Paul Schofield: The Sands of Time
  • Ying Ruo Cheng: Desiderata
  • Harvey Kietel: If
  • Harvey Kietel: The Man who Thinks He Can
You may not agree with this use of literature or even see the connection between the ad and the product. But for everyone who appreciates a piece of beauty well-read and articulated, these are a must see. I didn't really see the point at first but now... I think this is a fantastic campiagn and French has got some great performances from his actors. Do also read Neil French's note on each actor - very well written.

I look forward to hearing what you thought.


lakesidey said...

Unfortunately, I have no speakers here :( Do remind me when I get back to civilisation though and I shall certainly follow up on these....

. : A : . said...

This is a great find. Thanks for the tip.

Yours Truly...Conman said...

Neat blog man... real neat.
I mean, the layout. The bullets... the italics, the centre alignment at some places... real cool.
Didn't read the post. Can't read books, how in the world would I read ABOUT them.
Why do people read so much?
So much time?

Geetanjali said...

This is sounds really interesting...running over to check it out! Thanks for the directions :-)

Ubermensch said...

Very very interesting! Let me dig deeper before anything!
Ah!! the joys of visiting your blog!
Thanks for this!

Extempore said...

@Lakesidey: Will certainly remind you. These, I think, you will really enjoy.

@ .:A:. : Anytime! :)

@Geetanjali: Let me know how you liked the readings and French's writing, yes?

@Uber: Why, thank you! You're quite welcome. :)

finnegan said...

Since I live in Z├╝rich and have worked for UBS, I know less than I would have had I never been past the gates.

GD said...

They're nice... and there's some of my favourite poetry here, but I think their being ads spoils it for me. I couldn't enjoy any of it very much. And no, I don't see the connection with the product. I know what connection he's trying to make, but it's a stretch, in my opinion.
Conman: It's nice that you admit you can't read. I'm waiting to hear you admit that you can't write either. Also, what great use do you make of your precious time? Maybe if you enlightened us, we'd stop wasting our time on books.

Yours Truly...Conman said...

I admit. I can't write.
If it makes you happy...

GD said...

No, it doesn't make me happy. Maybe if you stopped pretending to be able to write, it would make me happy. Or maybe if you stopped commenting on something you can neither do yourself, nor appreciate in others.

Geetanjali said...

I think the concept is really amazing - I'm not sure of what kind of reach this campaign must have had, but they say it was popular so those ppl have great taste I guess ;-)

Went through the rest of his site - it was really interesting!

Extempore said...

@Finnegan: :)

@GD: Learn to separate, my dear! :)

@Geetanjali: Am glad you liked it, my dear!

Words Worth said...

mindblowing. feel a tingle down my spine every time i listen to them.

incognito said...

I liked Borders, Angkor Wat, SIA, Kent, Seafood Place, Parker/Pan Pacific, Mitsubishi, STPB and I liked Martell.

But I think I will be going back to the UBS poems again and again and... again.

Extraordinarily good poems. Thank you very much for raising my interest in poems.

"I would spread the cloths under your feet,
But I, being poor, have only my dreams,
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

Extempore said...

@Wordsworth: Am glad, my dear. Knew you'd love them! *hug*

@Incognito: I am impressed... at both your exploration of the site and the improvement in language! Forward, intrepid traveller! *cheeky grin!*

Prat said...

Omg, thanks a zillion for this!

Extempore said...

@Prat: Anytime! :)