Thursday, 19 February 2009

How long from avant-garde to ad-land?

There's a theory, I don't know if it has a name, that the experimental end of the arts feeds the commercial and popular - that the avant-garde will develop techniques and approaches that will be appropriated or adapted (depending on you look at/feel about it) by commerce. I just saw a great example of this, though I'm still working out how I feel about it.

The new ad for the opticians' chain Vision Express, which I just saw on British tv but you can see on their website wherever you are in the world, shows the world of eye-care carefully referencing/borrowing the world of The Residents, perhaps the archetypal avant-garde artpopmusic combo - specifically th eyeball heads which are the Residents' trademark. It gave me a bit of a shock. I had a Residents album once as a teenager, for a while, when I was trying to impress someone or convince myself of something. It was bloody awful as I remember. But the image of a band with eyeballs for heads and top hats is a brilliant one, and they are, it seems, still going, in their own world. I hope they're getting a cut from the glasses and contact lens the ad helps sell.

No comments: