Thursday, April 9, 2015

On Curious Fashion Dolls and Music Videos

So, first of all, prepare for a long list of short videos.

Will we be talking about Equestria Girls? Mostly.

 As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I quite liked "Rainbow Rocks". But here's something else I really enjoyed - the web-exclusive animated shorts that came with it. Some of these are less about doll sales and more about us fans. For example, here's a fan-favourite - Vinyl Scratch.

Awesome, right?
Or, if background characters aren't quite your thing, here's Sunset Shimmer.

We wanted to see Sunset shine, we got it!
(Though I really hope she keeps that awesome leather jacket). 
Best of all, it's pretty much an advert for a Time to Shine doll, and you can't even tell.
Now this is the kind of marketing I like. Here's another example:

And yes, this was made to advertise the Rockin' Hairstyle dolls (a rather well-made set, by the way. And that Rainbow Dash looks awesome). Sure, there's more traditional adverts made for TV, but fun little clips like these are exactly what the web needs.

The Vinyl video's been there for a while, the latter two were recent. I liked these a lot and went through a couple more. Some shorts were really good, some just contained brief character bios or bits from the movie, but that's to be expected. There were some makeshift music videos for songs from Rainbow Rocks. That's all well and good.

Suddenly, I came across this.

I didn't get the need for an irrelevant live-action video. I mean, these are just random kids and very little has been done to make them resemble the characters. The only believable Equestria Girl is Vinyl. Adagio at a push, and that's a considerable push.
And yeah, there's an earlier one. Didn't feel like embedding it since it makes just as little sense. Funnily enough, has different kids as the mane 6.

This is what Equestria Girls could have looked like. Just sayin'.

Original posted by Shelbeanie

I get that Hasbro wouldn't use bronies, and that they'd want to tone down the characters' wild technicolour looks, so the parents wouldn't start a fuss. Still, plenty of children go to pony cons. If there was a community contest for kids that granted its winners a place an Equestria Girls music video, with a full-length song as well, we'd get a better-looking piece that would actually mean something.

I really doubt the mighty Hasbro overlords would find my suggestion valid. So I started wondering what they were actually after.
Usually, when a company like this makes a move that makes no sense whatsoever, it's done to please the supposedly all-knowing marketology department. And what's the main goal of Equestria Girls marketing? At an educated guess - to give Monster High a run for its money.

So here's the next logical question - did Monster High ever make a random live-action video?
And the answer is yes!

Except, this one actually makes sense - Monster High needed a theme song. May as well make a video for it. I think they've done really well with what they had. It's a fun little clip and that's all it's trying to be. They even made a separate Hindi version.

There's also a more recent song featuring Madison Beer.

The zombie bit is cool, the rest just doesn't work for me.
Effectively, the song is about having the courage to be different, to be a monster. What we see is a huge crowd of school kids frolicking in the sun, all wearing uniforms and looking the same.
Okay, so there's a couple of bright wigs in the crowd, but they're just that.

The sunshine doesn't just add its own theme, it also means the makeup artist can't get away with as much as they could in the previous clip. The werewolf kid's the most convincing monster. Seeing a reptile girl hide obviously painted-on scales was a bit odd. 

So yes, like the Equestria Girls clip, this has very little to do with the series it's meant to represent. Unlike EG, this is a complete song. And, again, the zombie bit was cool.

But that's not all Monster High's got. Here's their latest live action upload - Digital Monsters.

They're digital monsters and they're proud! They may as well be - when it comes to looks, these guys have easily topped the other two videos. Also, all these "ghouls" are youtubers. So Mattel actually got the community involved. I hope Hasbro's taking notes!

So I got curious if Ever After High bothered with live action stuff.

They did. Again, it's the theme song. Doesn't have much to do with what goes on in the series, though the location is nice. This video is cute, even if it's an obvious advert. And it definitely calls for poofier dresses. 
Still better than Hasbro's? Well, the production value's definitely higher, otherwise they both were pretty much made for the sake of being made.

So what other unusual fashion dolls have we got? There's Bratzillaz. MH's semiliterate and slightly tacky competitors. Of course, they had to make a live action thing of their own.

I actually like this. I see a combination of a retro approach and a limited budget, which looks very weird by today's standards, but works. I like the horror movie vibe. Bratzillaz are having fun and aren't afraid to look stupid or scare parents. And the skull makeup looks pretty good.

And the last, but not least - Novi Stars!

Lady Gaga's family dropped by for a visit! (Couldn't resist)
It's silly, it's weird, "What on Earth is going on?" sounds like a punchline to all of this madness.
I approve.

So pretty much every toy line Equestria Girls would want to compete with has at least one live action music video. I guess Hasbro wanted to hop on the bandwagon.

But here's the odd bit - from what I've noticed, all these other brands have mini web series going, which don't have songs, but need a theme. So that means having to commission the song. I guess the practical thing to do is to pay a bit extra and get a music video done as well, for future advertising. Especially if you're working with a celebrity - may as well make the most of it.
Another aspect of this - you probably won't be able to make any of your characters "sing" the theme since whoever performs it might sound very different from your voice actors.

Now Hasbro's got a proper TV show for My Little Pony and staff who make songs for it routinely. Equestria Girls is a spin-off, but they've got the same staff working on it. So instead of buying songs externally, Hasbro can just get their own people to make some at any point. Which, as we can see from the first 3 videos, is working out beautifully.

So.. what exactly was the point of getting some random kids together and having them pretend they're a band? We may never know.... which would be for the best, 'cause I really hope this EG live-action business isn't going anywhere. Not in its current form. An animated web series, however, would be pretty cool.

We started this post with Equestria Girls videos, so let's put one at the end as well.
Meanwhile in Russia:

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