This recent ad directed by hotshot golden boy Johan Renck and starring leading lady Adina Fohlin isn't sending the product flying off the shelves, instead it has the viewers running scared.
Or so around 90-thousand of them claim, as they have joined the facebook group "I'm afraid of the girl in the Apoliva ad". This story has hit all the major newspapers and even the Local decided it was Swedish news big enough to warrant a translation.
The description of the Facebook group reads: “Those of us who have a TV and like to watch commercials/can't be bothered to reach for the remote are facing a problem. Apoliva has begun to run a commercial that is frightening. A woman singing a Nordic/Swedish folk song in freezing rain with lightning. I am creating this group for those of us who need somewhere to seek support and talk things out. It's only a matter of time before it creeps into our dreams and terrorises us in our sleep.”
Yes, it's frightening isn't it? But it's a great idea - the woman sings a traditional summer folk song as the typical Swedish weather storms around her, she emerges through winter and rain to the summer sun again and the tagline appears "Apoliva - for Swedish conditions". Get it? You get your facial creams and conditioners especially made for Swedish conditions, the dark dry winters, the cold rain, the wind. This is the kind of stuff we need. So, the idea isn't bad at all, it's actually quite good.
But then, oh no, then what did they do? I'm not sure what happened - did someone titled "model booker" outrank the AD and call in the high cheek boned sunken eye model (who looks great decked out in avant garde fashions) that is just so wrong for this job? Why didn't they explore the archetypical Swedish look for the Swedish conditions? There are dirty blond wide-faced plump-lipped rosy cheeked Ingrid Bergman copies a dime a dozen around here - and that would work with the idea, no? Swedish look, Swedish conditions... Why call the ultra pale brunette vampire-stick-girl? But the disaster doesn't end with the casting - what the hell was the light designer on that day? Did they honestly want that sunken eyed look? Did the Director call this job in or did Johan Renck simply give up after a while, allowing the really awkward hair-as-beard-moment that drags on too long to be in the final print? You can yell "cut" you know, Johan.
So many questions.
Kontaktmannen says that the ad is "too good for Swedish viewers", and while I do see his point, as an Art Director I have to say that the execution is what made this ad terrible. Not the idea.