Shaping Brands

I’ll be teaching a selection from Naomi Klein’s No Logo in my junior seminar this week, and while I was re-reading the chapter tonight, I came across a detail that always send me reeling: Jean-Luc Godard, notoriously critical of all things Hollywood, once directed a Nike commercial for European TV. I’ve done a quick Google search and haven’t had any luck finding the ad, but I did find another interesting Frontline episode on corporate branding called The Persuaders. Of primary interest, an interview with Andy Spade, a creative consultant for Song Airlines, who discusses the cinematic influences on Song’s TV ads (Godard and Truffaut, but also Wes Anderson, among others). It’s no longer surprising, of course, that even work by the most anti-corporate mediamakers can be appropriated for commercial purposes, but The Persuaders does look like it might be a useful resource for a media studies class.

So, if anyone knows where I might be able to find the Godard Nike ad, I’d be curious to see it.


  1. Matt Said,

    November 27, 2005 @ 1:51 am

    I don’t know where you can find the Godard commercial, but I can’t imagine him making anything that would actually help to sell anything. Subversion would be the key; something along the lines of an ad about being paid a ridiculous amount of money to make an ad. Darty has refused to release his ‘Le Rapport Darty’, which was supposed to be a promotional film, for that very reason.

    I’m reminded of Wong Kar Wai’s Motorola ads. If anything, they just leave you confused (and elated). The last thing you’re thinking about is phones.

  2. Chuck Said,

    November 27, 2005 @ 11:07 am

    But the elation might be worth it in the case of Wong Kar Wai–after all that’s a pretty good association with your product.

  3. McChris Said,

    November 27, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    I did a little poking around, and perhaps you also found this page at the Berkeley library listing a comp called “Kings of Ads, Vol. 1” here’s their description:

    Kings of Ads, Vol. 1
    Film collector Jean Marie Boursicot’s compilation of advertising films and commercials produced by famous film directors. Featured directors: David Cronenberg, Tim Burton, Luc Besson, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Giuseppe Tornatore, Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Tarsem Singh, Jean Jacques Annaud, Ridley Scott, Emir Kusturica, Wong Kar Wai, Michel Gondry, Tony Scott, Jean Luc Godard, Tony Kaye, Jan Kounen. 74 min. DVD 3538

    Depending on how bad you want it, you might call the media librarian and see if they can tell you the distributor. I’m curious enough I might ask our department librarian if he can get his hands on it.

    Jean Marie Boursicot’s site is here, but I’m not finding the commercial on the site.

  4. Chuck Said,

    November 27, 2005 @ 4:32 pm

    I saw that site but didn’t really look at it very closely. Maybe I can talk my department into buying a copy….

  5. Matt Said,

    November 28, 2005 @ 12:51 am

    Elation is a good thing to have associated with your product; but confusion about what the product actually is?

  6. Chuck Said,

    November 28, 2005 @ 11:26 am

    Tried to find the Motorola ad, but it doesn’t seem to be readily available, although here’s a review of it. I’m wondering if the confusion might work if the viewer sticks with the narrative long enough, thus identifying the product with a sense of cool that could be associated with “high culture?”

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