Last Ciggie at Marienbad

So, yesterday I posted what I take to be Richard Lester’s MARIENBAD-inspired Grant’s Whiskey commercials, and WITHIN THE HOUR I get word on Facebook from Steven Otero — he has the L&M cigarettes ad Lester mentioned in his Sight & Sound interview with Joseph McBride, which is also a Resnais pastiche. Very much so, in fact!

Lester: “I made a rather odd L&M commercial. John Schlesinger, Karel Reisz and I each made one of a series.”

McBride: “What was yours like?”

Lester: “It was like Marienbad. Why they came to me I don’t know. They said they wanted something which was absolutely me and suggested something that was absolutely Resnais. But, eclectic to the end, I sort of pitched in.”

I guess that architectural plan way of looking at buildings DOES connect Resnais and Lester — the palace scenes in THREE MUSKETEERS, for instance.

I’m not sure Mr. Lester really wants all this stuff dug up. It was meant to be ephemeral.

5 Responses to “Last Ciggie at Marienbad”

  1. bensondonald Says:

    A few years ago there was an American commercial that began with a teenager opening a soda and promptly becoming the life of a beach party full of beautiful girls. Just slightly exaggerated from the usual pitch. Cut to a couple of young slackers in front of a TV holding the same soda. They pop their cans and nothing happens. “Mine’s broken, man.”

    What spoiled the gag was that the commercial was for a REAL soda, Mountain Dew, which was trying to position itself as real and edgy. “OBEY YOUR THIRST” was the quivering, distressed-type slogan. Other commercials in the campaign offered fantasy unironically and without the punchline: Guys who drank Mountain Dew weren’t slackers watching commercials. They were out being cool and genuine while clutching their sodas.

  2. Big problems for comic ads is 1) Having to repsect the product and 2) being shown too often. That’s why Lester liked the caroselli, because they only aired once. I’m still hoping some of his visual comedy ones will turn up.

    He and Peter Sellers pitched a Persil washing powder ad which violated rule 1). It began with peasants sowing a field with Persil boxes, then little Persil boxes sprouting from the earth. Harvest time. Peasants trampling the soap powder into froth in barrels. And a white-coated wine taster sampling the suds, swilling them, and spitting them out. “It’s only good for washing in.”

    Persil didn’t take them up on it.

  3. bensondonald Says:

    Nike did a very elaborate ad that showed their shoes growing on trees in midwestern American orchards, harvested by Norman Rockwell types in a classic small town. If it was intended to playfully give the product an American buzz, it failed. It forced you think of where the shoes REALLY came from: overseas sweatshops. They went back to sports stars and catchy slogans that never, ever alluded to the actual manufacture.

    In contrast, the Jack in the Box fast food chain successfully pulled off a long-running campaign with an imaginary CEO. Years ago, they did a series of commercials to promote their chainwide makeover, which included removing the trademark clown heads over their drive-through microphones (in the ads, they were literally dynamited). When they performed another makeover many years later, the ads had the “original Jack in the Box” returning to take charge:

    I’m not sure there was an actual change of ownership or even upper management, but the early ads in the series were neat parodies of “proud CEO” commercials (in time they used him as a more generic comic mascot). Viewers obviously got this was not a real CEO, but the implication of “new guys” driving improvements to a stale brand somehow soaked through the comedy.

  4. Probably just a new advertising company got the account in each case!

  5. Michael Sloan Says:

    I would love to see Nicolas Roeg’s TV commercial with Doris Day. I forget the product but it was apparently popular in UK.

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