August 16, 2010
Roger Federer is the star of a new viral ad for Gillette in which he plays William Tell with a tennis racket.
It's got all the hallmarks of a phony viral ad: the fake impromptu conversations, a bearded guy, jumpy camera angles that "accidentally" miss the actual event, people in the background doing other things who are suddenly interested in the proceedings, etc. On the other hand, Roger Federer isn't that good of an actor. And the second shot looks pretty real.
I have no doubt that Federer could easily knock a bottle off somebody's head, and I have no doubt that it'd be fairly easy to find someone who'd be willing to play the Walter role (William Tell's son). I mean, what's the worst that can happen, you get a tennis ball in your face. But it looks a little fake, no?
The response of Gillette's public relations firm in London doesn't shed much light on the matter.
All we'll say at the moment is we'll leave the "real or fake" debate up to the viewers, but the evidence is there to see. Roger's skill and ability is incredible (that's why he's a Gillette ambassador!) so of course it was filmed in one take during a shoot for Gillette Fusion's partnership with the British Skin Foundation.
Claiming it's "filmed in one take" doesn't mean it's real. I'm sure some shots from "Avatar" were filmed in one take too, it doesn't mean there were blue people running around the movie set. That seems like a classic non-denial denial.
Still, I'm torn. The cynic/realist in me knows that even the most mundane of these viral clips are completely fake. There's enough realism here, though, that gives me pause. I'm sure Roger Federer could hit a ball off a guy's head if he really wanted.
So which is it? Real or phony? You decide.