Sometimes an ad can be just as awesome as a short film. Especially when they hire an auteur to direct it. The Prada Candy co-directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola are an excellent example. The “series” consists of three seventy seconds clips and they all-star Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) as Candy. In the first spot Julius (Rodolphe Pauly) is in a French café with Candy and she’s eating a banana split. They just met. Next thing you know Julius’ trouble maker friend Gene (Peter Gadiot) comes in suddenly it’s an uncomfortable ménage a trios.
The second spot takes place a week after the first (chronologically). It’s Candy’s birthday. Gene is taking Candy home to his bourgeois place, but when he opens the door: Surprise! Julius is waiting for them. He made Candy’s favorite cake. The awkwardness continues. In the third (and last) ad a month has passed. Candy is in a hair salon and debating which guy is right for her with the hairdresser. It seems as though she has had enough of both of them. The story is left unresolved. The guys now seem comfortable with their three-way relationship, but it’s Candy who can’t take it anymore.
If this storyline sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it is a direct reference to François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962). It’s no secret that Wes Anderson loves French New Wave cinema, in fact you can see Truffaut and Goddard influence in all of his feature films (as well as Buñuel and Fellini). I’m a big fan of the intense blue-brown-pink-purple color palette and the sixties aesthetic he choses for these ads, because not only does it reflect the Prada brand, but it also emphasizes the femininity and playfulness of the fragrance, while at the same time feeling distinctly French.
I also noticed that there’s a lot more dialogue and less cuts than what you see in “normal” ads. It’s the typical Anderson/Coppola dialogue that you can find in movies like The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom or another Prada short film Castello Cavalcanti. There’s also little things to like about Candy, like Léa Seydoux’s sexy voice when she says “Prada Candy the new fragrance by Prada”. Up until that point it doesn’t even feel like an ad or like they’re trying to sell you anything. The story is not even directly about perfume, though I can imagine that Léa smells really nice.
My only “critique” is that the story is unresolved. Then again if you think about it there’s only one possible outcome. Their relationship is doomed from the start, or at least that’s how I see it. Still it would have been nice to have a one year later and then maybe ten years later episodes, but I have to remind myself that these are ads. You’re not going to increase the sales of your eau de toilette with dramatic break-up scenes or by aging your actors. For those of you who were wondering about the kick ass rock song at the end of each spot: It’s L’idole by Jaques Dutronc.
Hope you guys dig these ads as much as I do. Let me know what you think.
Happy Valentine’s Day!