Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Napoleon’s Underpants and More Fun Hermann Historica Ads. Aus Deutschland!

Nifty creative. Very layered. It’s hard to know where to start. But really, how often do you get to see an Emperor’s muffin-top?

The science of advertising – metrics, pay-per-clicks, performance – is often dismal. This ad campaign from Hermann Historica is not merely refreshing. It is hilarious in a geek-inside-joke sort of way.

The specialized German auction house makes it plain that it is willing to sell you the clothes off the backs of military figures from all periods of history. Arms and armor. Greatcoats. Military uniforms. Medals. Firearms and swords. Trousers! Every great execution, from this Napoleon painting through the late 19th Century German Imperial Court to Washington crossing the Delaware River, pays off the simple framed headline:

What once was theirs can now be yours.

So first a tip of the bearskin cap (French Old Guard or British Grenadier) to the company itself. While I wish that some of the charm of the ads had been added to Hermann Historica website, advertising and web are fulfilling two different functions.

Second, a hand salute to Heye and Partner in Munich. Peter Hirrlinger and Zeljko Pezely (CDs), Florian Binder (AD) and Christoph Gahwiler (Copywriter) delivered wonderfully funky and involving visualizations of the concept.

Example? Napoleon packed on the pounds over the years – 90 kg or 198 pounds by 1820, according to scientific investigation. That’s a lot of weight on the Emperor’s five-and-a-half-foot frame and, as you can see, he looks properly porky in this ad illustration.

That great detail, and so many others in the ad campaign, are the contribution of Kunstsalon Posin, a German art studio specializing in fake paintings and operated by three talented Russian brothers: Eugen, Michael and Semjon Posin. You have to see them…go on, check out their website…to understand that this ad campaign was probably (hopefully) a knee-slapping fine assignment from the agency.

Please note that I have refrained from saying anything about Napoleon’s “plumber’s crack” or more politely, “buttock cleavage.” Even though it seems like Marshal Joachim Murat (the other guy with the funny hat) can’t keep his eyes off Bonaparte’s backside.

Well done, Germans. Talking frogs may work fine on TV but this level of wacky detail is the geek-stöffe that print ad dreams are made from.

“Napoleon’s Underwear,” Kunstsalon Posin, Berlin, for Hermann Historica, Linprunstraße 16 D-80335, München. After “Bataille d'Iena. 14 octobre 1806.” by Horace Vernet, Musée national du Château de Versailles.


10 Minutes of Brilliance said...

Terrific blog post today about everything from fake historical paintings to Napoleon's underwear. Your writing style and posts are always interesting, informative and fun.

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thank you, Jack. Coming from you, Stan and Harriett, this is high praise indeed. Best for mid-week!