zune: “life”.

For those of you that aren’t familiar, when you’re young and new and hungry and trying to get ahead in the world of advertising, you have a portfolio showcasing what (little) work you’ve done. That’s like cake. The icing of your book, though, are the speculative (everyone calls them “spec”) ads – work that you’ve dreamed up showcasing the absolute best you can do, but which hasn’t actually been produced, because you don’t have a job. Spec work is a blank slate, an open field, a pure creative battleground. It’s the best and the worst, because when you can do absolutely anything you want, your failures come crashing down around you twice as hard. It’s a lot like hell.

Which is why I’m bowled over by this exquisite spec ad for Zune by Stewart Hendler. Stewart isn’t exactly a struggling juniour director, if all of the amazing work on his site is any indication. But it still takes balls to go out and create a spec ad just to create it. He shot “Life” is a single day with a meager 7-person crew.

It looks gorgeous, it’s emotive and dramatic, the message is clear and simple and in-line with the narrative, and it’s the kind of heart-filled, over the top urban fantasy stuff that makes me swoon.

(Director: Stewart Hendler. Music: Human Worldwide.)


  1. Substitute portable music device x, y, and z and this ad still works to sell portable music device x, y, and z. Not zune-specific at all. Who even has one of these Zune-jobs anyway? The only people I know who use them are working on Zune ads and are required to demo them and don’t like them.

    Nonetheless, it is a killer spec-job, but feels like the ad would be better suited for the actual power of music, say a prestige music school or inner-city anti-violence campaign for music as an outlet.

  2. kinda similar to this one eh? of course, the one below is just goofy.

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