Attack Of The Brands: ‘Logorama’ Takes Global Advertising To Task
In this short film, titled Logorama, French animation collective H5 depict — quite literally — an America (and beyond) besieged by brands and advertising. Corporate logos and brand mascots are brought to life, humanized with the kind of traits we see in our fellow man each day — arrogance, anger, stupidity, and yes, even compassion. The 16-minute film begins just as all hell is about to break loose in an alternate-reality Los Angeles. Two police officers, who happen to be Michelin Men (channeling Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction), are sitting in a police ‘cruzer’ engaging in friendly, nonsensical banter about visiting the zoo. The action then begins when they spot a known criminal, Ronald McDonald, filling up at the gas station across the way.
What happens next is a blistering trip through a world so saturated in advertising, its nearly impossible to keep up. The pacing and sound effects are expertly done, and the sheer volume of cultural references will leave you dizzy. The Michelin Men fill the stereotypes of the hard-edged police detectives we know so well from American film and television. Ronald McDonald is a deviant sociopath, depicted as a super villain (much the way McDonalds is often characterized by its many detractors). As the action snakes through the busy city streets, we see a constant barrage of logos, brands, and mascots reappropriated for dramatic effect: Mr. Clean is an outwardly homosexual tour guide at the zoo; Big Boy is a devilish little kid who can’t stay out of trouble; Pringles man is a pervert and Esso girl is the sexualized object of his desire; and the list goes on. It’s a cast of characters that H5 uses brilliantly to skewer advertising absorption in global culture, and to test the boundaries of our perceptions of the visual noise in public spaces the world over.
Most fitting, however, is the film’s climactic finale. Without entirely giving away the ending, let’s just leave it at the fact that cataclysmic oil spills have never been more timely. It’s not surprising to hear that Logorama opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 academy award in the animated short category. Watch it for yourself and see what you think.