Thursday, 2 August 2007

Mr. Bergman, even your ads were dark

If sad-vertising is about putting a focus on darker material, then it would be wrong not to mark the passing of Ingmar Bergman this week. I've spent summers on Bergman's home island of Gotland and I have many Swedish friends who feel this week they have lost their national grandad. I cannot think of a more influential Swedish artist than Bergman and today Gotland, and Sweden, must be in quite a strange mood.
Speaking of mood, it's what Bergman was great at. All his films have a mesmerising darkness about them, an honesty about the futility and mortality of human existence. They can be tough going at times, but a Bergman film won't leave you feeling empty.
And when I found out this week that Bergman had directed 9 soap ads in 1951 (9 of them! and some over a minute long! those were the days) I just had to see if bergman was into his sad-vertising. Well, I'm not fluent in Swedish and can't translate, but there does seem to be a little darkness to these ads... for example, check out the one below.

It's really quite impressive for 1951, lots of startlingly affecting archetypal images. You can see all the "Bris Soap" ads here.

RIP Ingmar Bergman (1918 - 2007)