Germany – Leica has proudly boasted that it has made the ‘most boring ad ever’, touting it as a good thing.
The advertisement is a 44-minute film of a Leica employee hand-polishing a piece of aluminium that is used in the body of the new Leica T series camera. A voiceover explains the beauty in the tedium, and almost goads viewers to continue watching with statements such as ‘Unimpressed? Stop watching’ and ‘Still watching? Only the boring are easily bored, huh?’ The voiceover only lasts for two minutes, and the one-take ad continues for another 42 minutes of hand-polishing – more than 4,700 brush strokes to achieve the proper sheen.
The advertisement is taunting in its boringness, challenging viewers to keep watching in spite of themselves. They keep watching in the hope that something interesting might happen – a dancing monkey perhaps, but it doesn't. Like the frustration gaming identified in The Polarity Paradox, Leica is pushing people to do something counter-intuitive, to see what they can learn from it. Spoiler alert: here they learn how shiny aluminium can become after 44 minutes of polishing.