25. For Audrey // Galaxy Audrey Hepburn Chocolate Advertisement

A new ad for Galaxy Chocolate was just released this week in the United Kingdom. When first clicking on the advertisement I was strangely intrigued? I love chocolate, and the ad agency BBDO. However I have mixed feelings about the advertisement, and am torn between love and hate.

I love Audrey Hepburn. She represents both classic beauty and sophistication. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my all time favorite movie, and I absolutely consider Audrey Hepburn an inspiration. Audrey Hepburn has passed away over 20 years ago-yet her classic timeless image is being used to sell chocolate. How did they bring her back from the dead? The agency used CG and VFX computer technologies which “reproduces a young Hepburn’s features in a way that’s both familiar and totally alien”(The Village Voice) After researching the many reviews, critics are either highly receptive or horrified.

Some, are astounded by the technology and absolutely love the homage. Branding Magazine states, “Remarkable execution aside, I am wondering if the visual effects of the commercial will overshadow Galaxy’s branding purposes.. I hope that viewers are capable of comprehending the interaction between the chocolate brand and Hepburn’s legacy. Hepburn is of a Golden Age, a time period that oozes sensuality and luxury, while chocolate consumption is trademarked with parallel descriptors…”

On the other hand, some are absolutely horrified that her image would be re-created digitally and brings up many ethical questions about using an image after one has passed away. The Independent discuss if it is even a legal process. Although no law specifically states that you can not use CG technologies to ‘fake’ people, it is a very vague fine line. “If there is a risk that such revivals creep out an audience, or harm a celebrity’s image by association with cleaning equipment or the confectionery aisle, for a brand there is at least the reasonable certainty your star will not do something to harm yours.”

Although, BBDO did ask permission first from her living family members first. “Hepburn’s sons, who control her estate, authorized the use of her image, for which they will have received a fee. Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti say their mother would be “proud” of her new role, adding in a press release that she “often spoke about her love of chocolate and how it lifted her spirit”.( Ad Land)

We will never know if Audrey wanted to be the face of a Galaxy chocolate, or even have herself impersonated. Her memory is continuing to live on, but in a very different light. The TV character Homer Simpson sums it up blatantly-“You  celebrities need to realise that the public owns you for life, and after you’re dead, you’ll all be in commercials dancing with vacuum cleaners.”
On one hand, I love the advertisement and the homage to Audrey, the 1950’s Paris, chivalry, and sophistication. On the other, I feel sort of bad for her, that her image has come down to fakery.
Is this ethical?
-Rachel
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