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Mixing Genres: Why It Works

Action comedy, dark fantasy and spaghetti western. Besides being possible descriptions for 2020 - these terms are all subgenres of the larger, more traditional genres before them. The birth of a subgenre normally comes when content borrows elements from multiple genres in order to create something that feels new. These genre-mixing pieces can exist in any medium - ultimately with one goal in mind: to give the intended audience a more unique and enjoyable experience than they’ve had before.

Why It Works

That unique experience is precisely why so many pieces of content in today’s world don’t fit into a traditional genre category. With the internet and the constant barrage of content that every consumer is filtering through, content producers are always chasing ways to make their creations stick out from the crowd. You can see this with music, film and television awards expanding categories to account for content that is too nuanced to be pigeonholed into an outdated simple label. Last year’s Academy Award winner for best picture, Parasite, became wildly popular for its ability to subvert the viewer’s diagnosis of whether it’s a lighthearted comedy or a coldhearted thriller. The same could be said for Lil Nas X’s chart-topping track, Old Town Road. Is it pop? Hip hop? Country? This kind of subversion and genre fluidity is addicting to audiences that are eager to feel a unique experience in a world where most of what they see is predictable, flavorless and expected.

Mixing Genres in Advertising

A unique experience for the content consumer isn’t just effective in film and music. Mixing genres can be applied to advertising as well. It makes pieces more entertaining, sharable and most importantly, memorable for the viewer. I’m going to break down a few examples of advertisements that you might be familiar with that harness the use of mixing genres to create something truly unique.

This ad from Geico is a great example of the action comedy genre. Right away it doesn’t feel like a typical ad. To the unsuspecting viewer, they would probably think that it’s a scene from a movie or tv show. They don't realize they were watching until the punchline (call from mother in the middle of the action sequence) hits. 

In the same vein as the Geico commercial, this ad feels like a trailer for an upcoming big budget sci-fi movie before it’s made clear that it’s an ad for a Taco Bell item. 

This ad that showcases the capabilities of the new iPhone camera tackled a myriad of genres throughout. Through the vision of filmmaker Damien Chazelle, this ad also shows the evolution of some genres, going from silent films to westerns to vintage science fiction. 

Style Subgenres

This mixing and merging of genres works when discussing styles as well. When you think of specific types of video ads you might also think of styles. Traditionally, video ads can include live-action, animation, motion graphics, 3D elements and more. These styles can work very well on their own, but can make a project even more dynamic when combined. Use animation to enhance traditional video. Use 3D to add dimension to traditional animation. Mix and match and see what happens. The possibilities are endless. 

We’ve recently worked with the City of Akron to make a video for the city’s new rewards app, Akronite. This project utilizes live-action footage mixed with 2D animation and motion graphics to keep the viewer interested. It stands out from a typical explainer video.  In the age of social media, utilizing genre fluidity and merging styles has never been more valuable. Creating a new and interesting experience for the viewer is crucial. And can make for some pretty fun days in the production studio. Have some crazy genre-bending ideas for your next project? At PEG, we’re always looking for ways to create unique and interesting videos that stick out from the crowd and help you attract the audience that you’re aiming for. Let's talk.   


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