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Canal + : Man in the Closet


What makes a story great?


The power of a great story lies in its ability to enthral and engage its audience from start to finish. A well-crafted story evokes curiosity and anticipation. It surprises us with unexpected twists and turns, offering something new and unique that we haven't experienced before.


Canal+ is a prominent television broadcaster in France, renowned for its commitment to crafting original content that carries a distinct touch of creativity. This ad that we read as ‘Man in the Closet’ is a part of Canal+’s original creativity campaign.


Stay with us as we delve deeper into this ad, revealing insights that will enhance your understanding!




Let’s talk about the story first!


Right from the start, we do not get the idea of where the ad is going to take us. There is uncertainty but with some action that keeps us intrigued. A man, pursued by gunfire, races against time to preserve his own life. As he seeks a hidden spot, he climbs up a tree, only to face an unexpected plunge into the depths of water. The natural landscape changes into a more familiar civilian setting, drawing us deeper into the narrative. Even at this point we do not have a clear idea of what is happening.



The bucking of a tree gives rise to the creation of a wooden box, with a man trapped inside. For a fleeting moment, we think, maybe it’s an ad for a coffin. And the next instance our brain rushes to think: Will the man’s life be tragically cut short? How will he escape this perilous situation? Who will lend a hand in his salvation?




The suspense still lingers.


The true climax unfolds towards the end. As the ad reaches its conclusion, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. We are confronted with an unexpected twist - a naked man, hiding inside a closet. Tension mounts as we witness the woman, also unclothed, tucked into her bed. And it’s her husband who stands to interrogate!



Well, that was close.


But we are still torn between where it is that the truth lies. The dramatic adventure he told, or the sneaky situation that we get to see. All the fun of this ad lies in this little mystery.


Where is the brand standing in this ad?


It is only towards the end that the veil on what the ad is about is lifted. We see the screen flashing up with a text with the mention of Canal+’s Screenwriter - Lucas G. The Wardrobe - as it was originally titled, is the first from its Originality campaign. With this message, the brand aims to showcase itself not just as a broadcaster but also as a creator of original stories. It highlights the art of crafting great narratives and reflects Canal+'s commitment to producing unique content.



Let's talk about some of the highlights from this ad!


Dialogues: The ad relies primarily on visual storytelling, making it self-explanatory and requiring minimal dialogue. Only a few lines towards the end effectively convey the message. There is a perfect balance, neither overwhelming with excessive dialogue nor lacking in it.


Pace: While watching the ad, you might feel that there is no clear beginning. Typically, a three-act structure divides the narrative into the beginning, middle, and end. However, this ad throws us right into the middle of the action sequence (‘in media res’ as it's called - *you should definitely read more about it*). There's no time to spare in uncovering the truth behind the ad. Many directors and writers believe that capturing the viewer's attention in the initial few seconds increases the likelihood of them staying engaged with the story for longer and Canal+ nails this.


Costume: If you watched this ad, giving it your full attention, then you must have also noticed how there's a subtle change in the costume of our protagonist, Lucas G., with each passing scene. All of this is done so subtly that one might fail to take notice of small details, given the fast pace of the ad and the abundance of action happening all at once.



Show! Don't Tell: This ad masterfully employs a show, don't tell approach. Rather than relying on excessive dialogue to convey the accidental (ahem?!) landing in the cupboard, it immerses us visually in the entire comedic tragedy. The portrayal of the story weaved by Lukas is so convincing that for a brief moment, we might even catch ourselves questioning its authenticity!


All said, Canal+ stands out with its unmistakably unique approach, consistently infusing every advertisement with an irresistible element of excitement and surprise!





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