frog says: there goes the neighborhood
October 25, 2005 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Sony drops 250,000 superballs on San Francisco in a crass attempt to distract you from the outrageous price of flat-screen TVs. [quicktime, direct link here]
posted by Armitage Shanks (45 comments total)

 
Sweet. Photos of the shoot were on Flickr back in July.
posted by Plutor at 9:37 AM on October 25, 2005


Sony prices are otrageous ; my parents secretely bought one WEGA TV set (against my recommendations, thanks dad) who definitely looks good..but after one week the power transformer died.

I waited two months for a replacement one.

Not the service I expect for a massively overpriced TV set, thank you.
posted by elpapacito at 9:37 AM on October 25, 2005


I saw this first on boing boing.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:42 AM on October 25, 2005


(Pins shiny medal on fandango_matt)
posted by Bugbread at 9:43 AM on October 25, 2005


I saw this first on boing boing.

I posted the Jell-O link first on metachat.

Your turn.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:47 AM on October 25, 2005


That's a catchy song.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:48 AM on October 25, 2005


Boing boing? Superballs? I think matt was making a funny.
posted by TonyRobots at 9:49 AM on October 25, 2005


*plants face in palm*
posted by rxrfrx at 9:49 AM on October 25, 2005


Does anyone have any idea what song that is?
posted by bshort at 9:54 AM on October 25, 2005


Wonderful!
posted by gwint at 9:58 AM on October 25, 2005


My QT software is allegedly up-to-date, but I get only the audio & an error saying 'the required compressor could not be found'. Win XP.

O well.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:59 AM on October 25, 2005


Uh, OK. This seems like a bad idea.

Now there's lots of little plastic tripping hazards in SF. And potentially a few cars with little dents. Possibly some clogged storm and sewer drains. Untold numbers of birds/fish/dogs who died after swallowing the balls.

Anybody have details on Sony's cleanup efforts?
posted by grateful at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2005


The song is "Heartsbeats" by José González from his album Veneer.
posted by gwint at 10:06 AM on October 25, 2005


I'm boycotting this video. All I get is, "A standards-based browser and quicktime are required to view the video.". I'm on Opera so I am fairly sure I am on a "standards-based" browser.

Stoopid bigots.
posted by a_green_man at 10:07 AM on October 25, 2005


gwint <- +1 karma

Thanks!
posted by bshort at 10:10 AM on October 25, 2005


grateful : "And potentially a few cars with little dents...Anybody have details on Sony's cleanup efforts?"

Can't vouch for veracity, but one of the comments on Flickr mentions that there was a block cordoned off for this, and all the cars are props.
posted by Bugbread at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2005


Reminiscent of... static.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2005


grateful, i also read some where back in june that the sewer grates were covered with mesh.

One way of looking at it is this, if it takes you 2 minutes to see a problem with their plan, even without being involved in the planning process, chances are they have already fixed it.
posted by sourbrew at 10:15 AM on October 25, 2005


There's more info about the spot here.

It was done by an agency in London called Fallon (who has a cool site with more of their work.)
posted by gwint at 10:18 AM on October 25, 2005


Reminds me a lot of the (I believe Sony, could be Nintendo) commercials here in Japan that show soccer balls bouncing down stairways and through the streets, gathering together like rivulets into streams, and all converging on the same block.
posted by Bugbread at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2005


Once, while walking in New York near David Letterman's studio, we noticed the next block was closed off due to one of his hijinks. He had dropped things from the roof- cheese, a piano, I think, and lots and lots of bouncy balls. There were crew-type people cleaning the street, and I mentioned to one of them that, boy, that didn't look like a fun clean-up job. He responded, "Cleaning David Letterman's balls!", shrugged, and went back to work.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:21 AM on October 25, 2005 [1 favorite]


1) Wow, amazing, beautiful, cool.

2) elpapacito , I empathize you had a bad experience but I must counter the exact opposite. On several occasions I have decided to go the cheaper route than Sony and I have gotten burned for it. My Sony TV's have always been fantastic and worth the extra cost IMO.

Having said that I have a 5 year old Sony DVD player that's going senile... wait.. what chapter was I on?
posted by cavalier at 10:26 AM on October 25, 2005


Also -- your power transformer story seems odd, any reputable vendor would have dealt with you on that short of a timespan. [/derail]
posted by cavalier at 10:26 AM on October 25, 2005


my parents secretely bought one WEGA TV set..but after one week the power transformer died...I waited two months for a replacement one.

Our WEGA died about a month before it's warranty expired. The Authorized Sony repair shop we took it to couldn't fix it. We waited ... and waited... and waited... after 4 months of waiting and then a month a my wife calling and yelling at them they finally gave us a new TV.

It but it took them forever to live up to their warranty. I stay mostly away from Sony products now.
posted by goatfish at 10:38 AM on October 25, 2005


If you look on the Fallon site, the video is longer, you can listen to the whole song. Unfortunately, the resolution isn't as good.
posted by hypnotoad at 10:46 AM on October 25, 2005


That is a great video. I loved seeing the little details like the frog and the mailbox, and how they changed the focus/depth of field throughout.

Thanks for pointing out the song too!
posted by clgregor at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2005


Cool! The Flickr photo is still one of my favorites and I've got a lovely new Sony gadget being delivered today!

I wish I could check out the video now but it'll have to wait until later tonight.

And, for Sony's benefit, the quarter of a million superball drop distracted me to the outrageously expensive tv's for about thirteen seconds.
posted by fenriq at 11:55 AM on October 25, 2005


Great to finally see the commercial after seeing shots from the day of shooting so long ago.
posted by mathowie at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2005


Did they pick all those balls up again? Are they biodegradable?

Or is this something that will perplex archiologists of the future?
posted by Balisong at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2005


dash_slot-: The video is encoded in h.264 and so needs Quicktime 7. And the Windows Quicktime Updater won't make the jump from 6.x -> 7. You'll have to download it. It'll be a pain, but worth it.

This clip is an awesome demonstration of the new MPEG-4 codecs like h.264. Nothing like lots of random, brightly-colored movement to confuse your compressor. Last night I watched the same commercial encoded with a Sorensen codec (the bog-standard one in Quicktime for many years) and you could hardly tell there were bouncy balls, let alone colored ones. The FPP video is only 2x bigger in download size but the quality is like 10x better.

I would support yearly bouncy ball events in my city.

Balisong: I read somewhere they had nets and such to catch the balls. And lots of little kids. :)
posted by todbot at 12:31 PM on October 25, 2005


the outrageous price of flat-screen TVs

Because, after all, a flat screen TV is a right, not a privelege. We need to lobby our legislators for free flat screen TVs for everyone.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:48 PM on October 25, 2005


Back in high school we did this on a smaller scale as a senior class prank ... the majority of the 400 of us dropped ~10K balls dropped from the 3rd floor in the courtyard. Cool, but really anti-climactic; The freshmen had swiped all the balls within a minute of them coming to rest.

The following week we repeated this, but instead of using balls this time, we used all the paper we had collected throughout the schoolyear -- notebooks, lockers, recycling bins, (books), etc. That cleanup took a bit more effort on our part.
posted by fourstar at 1:13 PM on October 25, 2005


They blocked off the street, covered all drains, had prop cars, and had a huge net at the end of the hill to catch the balls. You all can stop being mad now. This is cool.
posted by glenwood at 1:35 PM on October 25, 2005


Because, after all, a flat screen TV is a right, not a privelege. We need to lobby our legislators for free flat screen TVs for everyone.

You must be a riot at parties.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:38 PM on October 25, 2005


bahaha.
posted by glenwood at 1:39 PM on October 25, 2005


Wow. I literally would have sat through a 5-minute extended version with more footage. This thing should be a screensaver, a background and in elevators with televisions in them.
posted by VulcanMike at 1:51 PM on October 25, 2005


Very cool, but even knowing it was a practical effect it still looked like CG. :)
posted by brundlefly at 3:07 PM on October 25, 2005


The price of panel TVs has come down some 30% over the last product cycle, and are now impacting sales on CRT tubes quite dramatically. With a rated half-brightness of 60,000 hours, TFT LCDs should last as long as 30 years, so they are not as expensive as they might at first appear.

SONY made their reputation with the TRINTRON process some 40 years ago, and their CRT Tubes remain the best, due to the higher light output and lack of doming. In this market, ( British Columbia) they cost about 10% more than other brands, which is well worth it for the higher fidelity, IMO.


Sony's fixed-pixel displays have been mediocre at best over the last three years, but their new light-engines have made them a contender again in all these categories, excepting plasma.

Sony's new product line is now one of the best, albeit a bit pricey, especially for the LCOS which is 30% more expensive than most DLPs and LCDs. The new LCOS 1080P models simply blow away all other rear-projection models currently available, although I have yet to see Hitachi's 1080P models. It seems unlikely that they will come to Canada this year.

All manufacturers suffer from product failure, judging an entire company on the basis of one that failed seems short-sighted at best, elpapacito. If they bought a Grand Vega LCD, as opposed to to Wega tube, I too would have advised them to buy something else, likely a DLP. That said, two months is an unusually long time to wait for a part for a brand new TV though, any reputable retailer would have replaced the set for you, and sent the defective one back.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:33 PM on October 25, 2005


Heartbeats is actually a cover of a fellow swedish act called 'The Knife' who's original(sample from their site) electro-pop version is very different but also very good. The rest of joses' album veneers follows in a similar style to heartbeats and is really worth checking out, especially nick drake fans, and for anyone else in the uk he's on tour here in november.
posted by quantumonkey at 5:08 PM on October 25, 2005


You must be a riot at parties.

So much so, in fact, that I must strictly limit the number of invitations which I accept.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:49 PM on October 25, 2005


Worked for me. There's hardly a TV in the whole ad, and I want to buy one right now.
posted by fungible at 7:01 PM on October 25, 2005


Crassness aside, this is sheer beauty.
Environmentalist note: Yeah, that frog in the commercial is basically fleeing for its life as bouncy balls come plummeting down the drain. Funny how it looks so poetic on film.
posted by mowglisambo at 9:24 PM on October 25, 2005


What VulcanMike said.
posted by deborah at 1:49 PM on October 26, 2005


Behind-the-scenes videos. (The music is José González' cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats." Here's a mash-up [mp3] of the two versions.)
posted by kirkaracha at 2:02 PM on November 17, 2005


Wallpaper and screensavers.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:03 PM on November 17, 2005


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