Unleashing the Beauty of the Web and the Talents of Filmmaker Keith Rivers

What’s the hottest commercial out right now? You might argue with me, but I say it’s the advertisement for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 (IE9).

That’s right. I said a boring, old web browser is actually the most exciting commercial on air. Take a look:

Choosing the right music

What makes this ad so great? First, the music. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” is an excellent choice! I was walking out of the room when I heard this commercial come on, and I stepped back in to see what it was for. That was all due to the power and excitement of the music. The music is loud, bold and soulful and completely sets the tone.

Microsoft, of course, agrees. They say:

It was the emotional intensity of Clare’s song coupled with the depth and richness of sound that made film director Keith Rivers feel that “Too Close” was the perfect complement to the visuals and message of the Internet Explorer TV spot, which was to focus on making an emotional connection.

Creating the right visuals

Keith Rivers is more filmmaker than advertiser, which works tremendously well here. At 29 years old, he has quite an impressive, award-winning portfolio. And the Microsoft IE9 commercial leaves no wonder why. Rivers started out directing extreme ski films, and I kind of feel that it’s that extreme sports mentality that boosts the impact of this commercial.

The visuals are vivid, strong and on beat with the music. I completely agree with Rivers’ own description:

What makes Alex Clare’s song so complementary to the advertisement is that it’s filled with uplifting energy and vocals that speak to what Internet Explorer stands for, a humble force powering your Web experience. The song carries you through a journey and re-energizes you, and Internet Explorer is all about that, giving the power to the user to focus on what you care about.

Starting with a great idea

The remaking of the Windows browser into IE9 started with a visionary idea—“to unleash a more beautiful web.” When you read the Windows blog, you can sense their excitement around this idea. And, in case you’ve never experienced this, when your whole team is excited about and unified by an idea, you usually create a terrific product.

But, it’s not really about the product itself. It’s about what the product can allow you to do or make it easier for you to do.

“The song and its lyrics are entirely about the emotional core, the consumer — the person using a browser,” Rivers says. “Emotional core has nothing to do with a browser; we know it isn’t about the browser. It’s about your personal experience of the Web.”

Ahh…honesty. Browsers are boring, but if they’re designed correctly, this boring web browser opens the door for you to experience the beauty of the web.

The ultimate question—does IE9 unleash the beauty of the web? I guess that remains to be seen. But I know for sure that this commercial sure does.


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