Monday, 7 February 2011

Renault Clio Commercial

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.


What is Va Va Voom? directed by Ishbel Whitaker & Marc Hawker for "Darkfibre", 2011: