Breakup Commercials

Daniel Frampton´s Filmosophy in the context of spot advertisement

Term Paper 2009 15 Pages

Communications - Public Relations, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Filmosophy
2.1 Filmind & Film-thinking
2.2 Fluid Film-thinking
2.3 Filmgoer

3. Applied Filmosophy

on the commercial „meinestadt.de - open city“

4. Resumé

1. Introduction

With filmosophy, Daniel Frampton tries to establish a brand new way to encounter the phenomena of film experience. He claims that „borrowed“ theories like narrativity from literature don´t get close enough to, on the one hand how film connects with the individual filmgoer and on the other hand how reality is processed by the filmmakers into films. Filmosophy offers multiple accessions to analyze the film experience. As it is labeled as a manifesto, the whole concept keeps an open form, which is in perpetual development. With this assignment I am trying to achieve three aims.

Firstly I try to accept Frampton´s invitation to rethink the traditional way to think about film. The second, less abstract, aim is to convey Frampton´s concept from feature films to spot advertisement. In this context I´m going to give a brief introduction to four specific categories Frampton established in his manifesto, namely „filmind“, „film-thinking“, „fluid images“ and „the filmgoer“. These categories will be, if needed, altered for the analysis of commercials. In a second step I am going to apply these categories on the commercial „meinestadt.de - open city“. The third and final aim of this assignment is to evaluate the adaptability of Frampton´s manifesto for the commercial genre.

With reference to Marshall McLuhan, who mentions in the opening sequence of his wellknown interview with the Playboy that his „purpose is to employ facts as tentative probes, as means of insight, of pattern recognition, rather than to use them in the traditional and sterile sense of classified data, categories, containers“1,

I´m not going to outline the whole concept, but use its tools to shift filmosophy to a special form of films, namely the spot advertisement. Regarding the teleological character of Frampton´s work and having in mind that it´s meant as a manifesto I think the only way to work with his concept is to inscribe oneself and extend it. As McLuhan quotes:

„I want to map new terrain rather than chart old landmarks“2.

2. Filmosophy

Frampton´s filmosophy offers a new way of how we can experience film. Therefore it offers some new tools which help to overcome the narrational paradigm which is established since the early days of photo-plays. Frampton points out that he does not want to tear down the traditional media studies, but add a brand new aspect to the discourse.

„In a sense filmosophy can therefore be understood as an extension and integration of theories of both para-narrational ‘showing’ and mise en scène aesthetics. Filmosophy proposes that seeing film form as thoughtful, as the dramatic decision of the film, helps us understand the many ways film can mean and affect.“3

The core of filmosophy is to percept film as a thinking something that is object and subject at the same time.

„It’s about how film is a kind of affective intelligence, a new kind of thinking.“4

In the following part, I´m going to introduce briefly these tools of Frampton´s manifesto, which seem to be most useful for the better understanding of commercials.

2.1 Filmind and film-thinking

Frampton himself outlines these two basal categories in his summarizing text „What is filmosophy“:

„The ‘filmind’ is filmosophy’s concept of film-being, the theoretical originator of the images and sounds we experience, and ‘film-thinking’ is its theory of film form, whereby an action of form is seen as the dramatic thinking of the filmind. (...)The filmind is not an empirical description of film, but rather a conceptual understanding of the origins of film’s actions and events. “5

Therefore it is possible to speak of what a film has in mind, when it shows something to the viewer. The act of showing itself must be considered as „film-thinking“.

„Film-thinking is the way the filmind rethinks the film-world. The way the films shows what it shows.“6

In the context of commercial films I assume that one main aim of the filmind is to transcend the product it advertises into ideas that engage the ad-viewer.

„The materiality of the (non-metaphoric) film-body claims its world (...). Body is to reality as film is to its world.“7

As the film-world of a commercial is always conceptualized towards the advertised product, this texture seems useful to analyze commercial films.

2.3 Fluid film-thinking

Fluid film-thinking means shortly the redesign of the film-world through new techniques and procedures.

„Fluid film-thinking gouges the film-world - it tears and rips into it, morphing it from within. We are thus confronted with a film-being that can imagine anything, can re-create the recognizable world at will.“8

So fluid film-thinking seems to be a basic tool for modern commercials which have to claim a world, transcend a product and engage the viewer within 30 or 40 seconds. How powerful the aesthetic and artistic potential of fluid film-thinking even in the earmarked context of spot advertisement can be will be discussed by means of the commercial „meinestadt.de - open city“.

2.2 The filmgoer

The filmgoer is the category which changes the most if you shift filmosophy towards spot- advertisement. The filmgoer is a subjective, active viewer who decided to go to the movies to watch a feature film.

„Taking our seats we are expectant and thus attentive in the cinema - we are thinking with and against it, but we are thinking towards it, not passively positioned (in life we usually think from our experiences). (...)

Most important here are questions of how active the relationship between film and filmgoer is. In a very simple sense the filmgoer is active towards the film.“9

The ad-viewer in contrast is a priori an object to the ad, as he did not decide to see it. Even more he is interrupted in a current film experience. It is the aim of a commercial to overcome this objectivity of the ad-viewer and to move his thinking towards its film-world.

„Part of the function of the filmosophical concepts of the filmind and film-thinking is to engender an active and creative attitude to film.“10

Therefore a communication strategy in spot advertisement is successful if the ad-viewer, who is an object to this strategy, develops an own original thinking towards the film-world, which means the advertised product.

How this active and creative attitude to film can be engendered in particular will be reviewed exemplarily with the commercial „meinestadt.de - open city.“


1 McLuhan, Marshall in "The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan, Playboy Magazine (March 1969)http://www.digitallantern.net/mcluhan/mcluhanplayboy.htm

2 ibidem Breakup Commercials Daniel Frampton´s Filmosophy in the context of spot advertisement

3 Frampton in: Programme of the BFI Education / Media Studies Conference, June 2008, BFI Southbank, London. S. 24 url: http://www.bfi.org.uk/education/conferences/mediastudies2008/prog_app.pdf

4 ibidem

5 ibidem Breakup Commercials Daniel Frampton´s Filmosophy in the context of spot advertisement

6 Frampton, Daniel: filmosophy, London 2006, p. 90

7 ibidem p. 43

8 ibidem p. 88 Breakup Commercials Daniel Frampton´s Filmosophy in the context of spot advertisement

9 Frampton, Daniel: filmosophy, London 2006, p. 160

10 ibidem Breakup Commercials Daniel Frampton´s Filmosophy in the context of spot advertisement


ISBN (eBook)
File size
2.3 MB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
University of Potsdam
filmosophy Daniel Frampton



Title: Breakup Commercials