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Calling all dancers: Choreographed commercials take hold

August 25, 2009 | 12:34 pm

In Palm's recent commercial for its Palm Pre mobile device (see the above video), a ballet-dressed actress ascends a hilltop that is surrounded by a sea of orange-attired Chinese dancers. As she operates her phone, the dancers physically enact the electronic undulations of her screen, creating a soothing ripple effect of perfectly synchronized bodies.

Times columnist Dan Neil writes today about the increasing use in TV commercials of large-scale choreographed movement -- sometimes CGI-enhanced -- to sell products as diverse as the Toyota Prius and school supplies.

The Palm commercial was co-choreographed by Sun Yupeng, who was involved with the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Games.

"There might be something deeper at work here than simple arty set pieces in post-Beijing euphoria," Neil writes. "These ads are, after all, demonstrations of mass cooperation, human beings operating harmoniously, collectively and selflessly to make something beautiful.

"Maybe we've forgotten that we could do that?"

Other commercials that make use of this kind of choreography are spots for Audi's new Q5 automobile and a 2007 campaign from Vaseline.

You can read Neil's entire column here.

-- David Ng

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