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Microsoft ‘Ode To The Commute’ / 3 Monkeys Zeno

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For Londoners, the daily commute to work isn’t something we particularly look forward to. It can be a struggle to find enjoyment in standing on a crowded train with little personal space having to put up with other people’s loud conversations, food habits and unwillingness to politely move aside so you can gain access to an available seat, especially when the travelling experience is taking you to your nine-to-five rather than to some more exotic destination. But could that chunk of life eaten up by the journey to work be co-opted for more enjoyable and productive means? 3 Monkeys Zeno’s new work for Microsoft offers an alternative way of looking at the London commute, one which suggests that it can, in fact, be the perfect time to dedicate to more creative pursuits.


To demonstrate this point, 3 Monkeys Zeno has created a three-and-a-half minute film which sees spoken work artist Suli Breaks recite a piece written about the hidden perks of the London commute to a composition put together by David William Hearn. The track was produced over the course of a single day using Microsoft’s latest offering targeted at creatives, the Microsoft Surface Pro.


‘Ode to the Commute’ is set to Hearn’s amalgamation of typical sounds of the city including the chiming of a church bell, ringing of a bicycle bell and moving traffic, and runs under the strapline, ‘the journey’s always more important than the destination’. The spot depicts Breaks and Hearn individually riding London’s transport network whilst taking time to hone their craft using a Surface Pro. After taking in inspiration from their commutes, the devices are utilised again when their journeys eventually cross paths for a meeting at a trendy health café where their creative relationship begins.


We then follow both artists as they travel together to a studio in which we see Hearn orchestrating a string quartet, the music of which becomes part of the film’s soundtrack, with Breaks providing his input from the sound booth. The Surface Pro makes another appearance, with one displaying Breaks’ lines for him to read from and another aiding Hearn in his role as conductor. Hearn is also co-founder of StaffPad, a Windows music notation application designed to be run of Surface devices, and previously worked with Microsoft on its launch.



The campaign appears to be another example of Microsoft putting its advertising focus on a young professional audience. Last month the tech giant released its ‘Real People’ campaign which saw self-confessed millennial ‘slashies’ utilising Windows 10 in order to juggle their multiple skills. The new work starring an up-and-coming ‘rapper’s poet’ also clearly aims to target a young market. It looks like an interesting move from Microsoft which is perhaps looking to gain some customers back from rival Apple which claims a large amount of young creatives with the lure of its Macs and synonymy with good design.


‘Ode to the Commute’ works well as it is relatable for creatives, the majority of which will travel in and around London for artistic endeavours. The film’s quickly cut shots and constant movement of its subjects transitioning from one location to another also help keep the promotion of the Surface Pro subtle. The inclusion of the laptops do not distract from, but actually complements the main event of Breaks and Hearn’s impressive creative collaboration. The campaign’s theme will certainly inspire some people to start making the most of their commute, embracing the concept of creativity on the go, and, some of the creatively-minded, will likely check out the stylish-looking Surface Pro too.


Breaks commented on the campaign, ‘However you make your journey, the commute can be a great opportunity to reignite that creative flame and people should use this time wisely…Inspiration can strike at any time, it’s important people don’t limit how and where they express their creativity’.


The work was created with the help of ADTV Films and Angel Studios and will be supported by an evening at London’s The Timber Yard on 5 July. The night will consist of an exclusive spoken word performance of ‘Ode to the Commute’ by Breaks in association with Microsoft Surface. Hearn will also join for the experience which will see guests invited to try out the latest gadgets.