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Ad firms stand on shoulders of great artists

Apr 19,2007
Vincent Van Gogh holding a cell phone, left, and a jeans company advertisement made to resemble da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” Provided by the companies
Centuries-old famous paintings are being incorporated more and more into advertisements for modern products, reflecting increased interest in art and a refined lifestyle.
A recent advertisement for the LG Group appears, at first glance, to be a replication of Vincent van Gogh’s “Night Cafe.” A closer look reveals a billboard on top of one of the buildings that reads “LG.” In another advertisement for LG Household and Health Care, women with long, jet-black hair in Paul Gauguin’s “Tahiti Women” sit with a bottle of Elastine shampoo between them.
An advertisement for the apartment brand Branew features actress Kim Hye-soo in one scene that is reminiscent of the painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat.
An Asiana Airlines advertisement is a Reubens painting where the colors mobilize and form an airplane.
LG Ad, the agency that made the advertisements for LG, said that there are about 20 ads in the series. “By placing all sorts of LG products in the ads, from cell phones to air conditioners, we tried to convey a message to consumers that using these products is part of a premium lifestyle,” said Choi Woo-jin, an LG Ad director.
Advertising firms also point out that using famous pictures was an advantage because people already recognize the paintings and there are no copyright issues.
Using masterpieces for commercial purposes is by no means a new phenomenon. For instance, in 1888, the British soap manufacturer Thomas Barrett drew a Jean-Francois Millet painting on his soaps as an advertisement. The Swedish vodka maker Absolut also used many famous paintings, and in 2005, the French jeans maker Marithe Francois Girbaud used an ad with models posed to resemble Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
“Art marketing will most likely continue to spread as people’s interest in fine art increases,” said Han Sang-pil, a professor of advertising and public relations at Hanyang University.


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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