Well, this is simply incredible. Galaxy Chocolate, a Mars Chocolate brand, teamed up with production company Framestore and ad agency AMV BBDO to recreate Audrey Hepburn and cast her in their newest commercial, entitled “Choose Silk Chauffeur.” The resulting video, although neither first nor second in reviving Hepburn, is undeniably impressive.
The timeless bombshell, as world-renowned as Galaxy strives to be, is recreated beautifully in this commercial. The scene is set on the Amalfi Coast, sometime during the 1950’s, and the beauty herself is stuck in a bus and desirous of her chocolate. Framestore describes the arduous process, including discovering a Hepburn double, that these VFX techniques required and how they all converged to form CG Audrey. The icon’s eyes and smile are said to have been most difficult and, although the Framestore team hoped to utilize real eyes (for which the actress’s similarities were cast), they ended up rebuilding all of Hepburn’s face. As for the smile, CG VFX Supervisor, Simon French, states:
“It is amazing how unique and recognizable a person’s smile is. When you see it in this detail, it really needs to look perfect.”
Remarkable execution aside, I am wondering if the visual effects of the commercial will overshadow Galaxy’s branding purposes. Although the aesthetic success of the commercial will bring it all of the publicity it requires, 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. Beneath the fantastic spectacle of the commercial lies a powerful and well-developed partnership between the one-of-a-kind beauty and Galaxy’s promoted rich, rare taste. After all, the video concludes with the question: Why have cotton when you can have silk?
As wondrous as this ad may be, ethical questions are sure to arise. As The Independent mentions, “who owns dead people?” The personal brands are obviously still available for usage, but the public opinion can definitely sway one way or the other. On the one hand, commercials such as these can be described as tributes to great characters of our time, as long as they are portrayed positively. Contrarily, viewers may also be inclined to disagree with the employment of those who are no longer with us and whose families suffer from such losses.
We will have to wait and see how Galaxy’s audience (bigger than ever after overcoming such a feat) will react. As for now, watch previous videos reviving Hepburn, the first from Gap and the second from Dior, and make your own judgments as to who did it best.