Ronald McDonald as a guns-a-blazin’ bad guy? An Evian-emblazoned blue sky? Welcome to the world of “Logorama.” Last week I attended a screening of the 2010 Oscar-nominated animated short films. Among them is “Logorama,” directed by the French collective H5. The 17-minute film presents a world entirely made up of familiar brands: the Michelin man, Esso, Mr. Peanut and Merck, among them.
The hills have the Hollywood sign, the tank engine is named Thomas, and the zoo is filled with Izod alligators, Linux penguins and the MGM lion. But “Logorama” doesn’t present an idyllic world – Mr. Pringle cops a feel on his waitress, Bob’s Big Boy and Haribo children are profanity-spewing hellions, and we learn that while M&M’s don’t melt in your hand, they certainly crack into a zillion pieces when slammed into by a speeding car. PsPrint Facebook fan Stacey and I discussed “Logorama” afterwards. We both enjoyed the heck out the film, though we pondered what the point of it was: That we’re consumed with advertising? That we’re so inundated with brands we don’t notice them anymore? That mega-corporations will violently take over the planet? Another question Stacey and I had is about the logos themselves. Did the filmmakers get permission to use them – all 2,000-plus? All Internet research pointed to “no.” On the one hand, “Logorama” is nominated for an Academy Award and is making the film festival circuit, so it’s free advertising to all the companies included. On the other, Stacey said she can’t imagine McDonald’s being pleased at the representation of its iconic spokesclown as a hostage-taking murderer. For a revealing look at the making of “Logorama,” check out this interview on Creativity Online with H5’s Francois Alaux and Hervé de Crécy, discussing the directors’ rise from graphic designers to music video directors to Oscar nominees. “When people see the film, they have very different versions of the film depending on their knowledge of the logotypes,” says de Crécy.