Sunday, 22 November 2009

Dolce and Gabbana's risqué TV advert

This TV advert, currently showing on ITV's channels after the evening watershed, fits the criteria for a post modern advert rather well: the product and even more importantly, the brand, is alluded to by association; there is a sense of hyperbole and an emotional response is invited; the connection with the brand is only given at the end with D & G and, doubtless, the association is that one can be very daring when wearing D & G watches as "D & G time" is a much more romantically exciting experience than time spent wearing watches by other brands.

The implied upper-class status of the characters and mise-en-scene also suggests that only people of style and status would wear such watches. D & G watches would hardly be found on just anyone. There is the further implication that the usually boundries of acceptable behaviour do not really apply to those of high status.

Several rolling close ups are given of stylish watches worn by the young woman and men but not close enough for the brand to be recognised; however, the knowledge of the brand is made through the discovery of the girl's mother, whose scream is immediately muffled by an unseen young woman's hand and wrist bearing a D & G watch. In "virgin white" the enlarged "D & G" sign with the smaller word, "Time" underneath, embosses the image and rounds out the advert. The advert reinforces notions that you not only get the watch but D & G's
risqué experience of "time" too; perhaps the electric-like crackle not only signifies the end of the advert but its sample of D & G's "time".

The ad's music sounds like an exaggerated hybrid of the action-thriller genre. It rolling piano music, electric guitars, drums and organ combine to create a strange sense of melodrama in which no one speaks and the two men unrealistically dispense with feelings of jealousy to share the young woman's affections. The musical score matches the choreographed movements of the three young characters in a montage of images which might even suggest the scene is a romantic dance.

Time appears to be collapsed in the advert between the present and the past. The young woman and men's costumes appear to be modern whereas mother's costume seems to exaggerate her age and "outdated outrage" by placing her from an earlier time. Even an
old clock can be seen behind the models casting a strong shadow. There is, of course, also the rather daring association with pornography with the viewer unexpectedly placed in the position of voyeur, alongside an unknown female who gags the mother. There is a point of view shot part-way into the advert which suggests the a hidden, female voyeur is spying on the three young people. The mirrors in the advert tend to reflect and mediate "reality" as they act as framing devices in which images reflect other images within the darkened mise-en-scene's low key lighting.

Intertextuality, although often an important feature of postmodern texts, is far less important for the advert than the associations with the brand (logo or sign) audiences are expected to make. As with many postmodern adverts audiences are expected to engage with and interpret the commercial. The YouTube comments after the video show that this advert has had this affect on young viewers.

Dolce & Gabbana are no strangers to provocative advertising. Their advertising campaigns often aim to shock and surprise and thus stand out. Perhaps the expectation is that the brand will also stand out for consumers. Here's what the company says about its advert:

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbanas creativity is the foundation of the new D&G Time commercial, with the direction of Cyrill Guyot.
A luxurious period apartment in Paris is the set for a malicious mademoiselle who abandons herself to provocative games, ending in an upper-class ménage a trois. The risqué situation is interrupted by her rigorous mother, shocked at the sight of such an impudent display.

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