Ever since I saw ZOOM, an after school program in the early 2000s, Rube Goldberg machines have fascinated me. This, for the non-nerds, is the complex and over-engineered machine involving chain reactions to perform simple tasks. Named after, obviously, Rube Goldberg, an American cartoonist and inventor.
If you are still unfamiliar with the process I speak of, take a look at OKGO’s new single “This Too Shall Pass.” The complexity of the video really shows Rube Goldberg machines at their best. The band’s funding probably didn’t hurt the production aspect either.
The complexity aspect of a Rube Goldberg machine is perhaps why I have never attempted a full fledge one myself, limiting my chain reaction creations to dominos. Yet, still the whole mechanism behind creating something so difficult and complex appeals to me in a very creative sense. I think the Rube Goldberg model could be used against very successful brands and/or agencies. Behind those popular titles of simplicity and pose lays an interlinking system of pullies, marbles, and thinks that roll. A successful agency or brand hides this complexity and makes everything appear as a simple easy task.
A great example of the Rube Goldberg machine is in a Honda commercial for their latest car model, the Cog. In the video, all parts of the car are used to create the Rube Goldberg machine.
Of course this smart idea comes from Weiden + Kennedy UK. The commercial took 5 months of pre-production to create and 605 takes to get the whole reactions right.
If you haven’t gotten your Rube Goldberg Machine fix yet, you can check out a wonderful homemade invention, a bar version, and Rube makes an appearance in one my favorite musicals, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.