Kate Moss on the cover and an interview with iconic British comedian John Cleese: “Our latest issue is out now and it’s as much ‘celebrity’ as you will get from us,” says Michael Weinzettl.
The consensus in creative advertising is pretty much that, despite numerous brilliant exceptions to the rule, using celebrities in ads is one of the laziest solutions to a creative quandary.
Which is why it just doesn’t happen all that much in the pages of Lürzer’s Archive. However, in Vol. 3/2013, we not only have a celebrity gracing the cover – another, John Cleese, is the subject of our interview.
Director, producer and author (and also our correspondent), Hermann Vaske, met the grand old man of British comedy in London on the set of a shoot he was doing for the Bavarian “König Ludwig” Weissbier. They talked beer, humour, dirndls and the art of collaboration.
Over the past 40 years, Cleese has been a frequent presence in advertising; his brand of humour effortlessly crossing borders.
In our online Archive which spans back to 1985 you will find, among several others, a Magnavox electronics spot by Grey, New York, from 1991. A black and white Schweppes ad by Saatchi & Saatchi, London from a year later parodies the pretentious Calvin Klein “Obsession” adsvertising of the period - and features a lizard named Colin.
For some strange reason, another of his appearances in commercials always comes to my mind first. It’s for BT Cellnet circa 1993 and features him in drag, namely as one of what looks like hundreds of competitors in a Joanna Lumley look-a-like contest.
Cleese, alongside fellow comedian Ronnie Corbett, made up to look like Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous (which must have been in its first season then) is quite a treasure that I’ve unearthed it for you.
As for the cover, it is of course Kate Moss – as I first thought – styled and photographed as Queen Elizabeth II to look like the iconic holographic portrait taken by Chris Levine on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Only after a while did I discover that the image (part of Grey London’s campaign for The Sunday Times Style magazine’s 50 Best Dressed List) has in fact been digitally composed. It is based on that Chris Levine portrait which has been “mashed up” with an existing shot of Kate Moss’s face by London-based digital production company, Act2.
Creative Director, Dave Monk, told me that for the image they obviously needed permission from Chris Levine. When Levine received the concept, it just happened to be the very day that he was doing a photo shoot with Kate Moss. He showed her the idea and she loved it.
Tellingly, this is only the second time in the 29-year history of Lürzer’s Archive that a celebrity has been featured on the cover. Six years ago, Gisele Bündchen, another “supermodel,” featured on the cover of Vol. 6/2007. The image was taken from a Brazilian campaign for Havaianas flip-flops and it too had involved a lot of digital imaging wizardry, as she was sporting a dress made of water.
As for the provenance of the print work shown in Vol. 3/2013, it is Brazil which comes out on top with 15 campaigns, followed by the UK with 10 and the USA with 7.
In the Film section, the US leads with 24 (out of a total of 72 film campaigns) over the UK with 13, and Germany with 9 and France with 8. Other countries represented in the section include Japan, Lithuania and Denmark.
The judge for the Digital section of Vol. 3/2013 was Canadian-born Steve Vranakis, Executive Creative Director of Google’s Creative Lab. Before joining Google two years ago, Vranakis had worked as Creative Director at VCCP for eight years, overseeing award-winning campaigns for O2, Coca-Cola, and ComparetheMarket.com.
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In the interview that accompanies his selection, Steve chats to me about advertising, technology, empathy, and empowerment.
No doubt some of the work featured in this issue will receive some special attention next week in Cannes. Our Online Editor, Rhia Chohan, will be at this year’s festival. Follow our media channels – including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – for behind-the-scenes news and updates.
Volume 3/2013 is out now. Grab your copy here
Video: BT Cellnet (1993) "Joanna Lumley Lookalikes"