Can television commercials be elevated to the creative level of modern art? The new promo for the Renault Clio, currently screening on British television, attempts to establish itself as something a little different from the average car commercial through an adventurous appropriation of both conventional and unconventional references. The result: a 40 second clip that impresses as a work of pure audio-visual experimentation but, like the majority of the kind of modern-art being referenced herein, leaves the audience wondering... what does it all mean?
Mixing contrasting elements of pop-culture and high-art, the ad' plays like a bizarre combination of installation-piece and the trailer to Jean-Luc Godard's recent Film Socialisme (2010). Cross-cutting between stock-footage of movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Marlon Brando with sequences of the burlesque "performer" Dita Von Teese and the French football player Thierry Henry - while the soundtrack blurs samples of Clare Maguire, David Bowie and Rihanna to create something that adds an enigmatic commentary to the images - the intention of the clip seems to be the presentation of the spectacle of glamour; where art, celebrity and the car itself become objects to be fetishized and admired.
On top of this, oblique inter-titles that work against the images are superimposed on-screen to create an association of ideas. The intent? To hypothesize about the possible meanings behind Renault's famous advertising slogan: "what is va va voom?" At this point, I'm not sure if this commercial really warrants any kind of greater, in-depth analysis (sometimes a commercial is just a commercial), but I did enjoy it; not just as a work of actual video production, but as a rather interesting and impressive piece of contemporary objet d'art.