Ever since first arriving in France, 45 years ago, I've appreciated the overall excellence of French publicity. A highly visible symbol of movie publicity—handled by the firm of Jean Mineur [1902-1985]—was the little fellow who hurled a whirling sickle at a bull's-eye target. French cinema audiences grew up with this cunning midget.
Another constant presence was the creative work of Raymond Savignac [1907-2002], whose colorful posters appeared everywhere in France, on walls, billboards and in the Parisian underground stations. He became famous overnight through his pink Normandy cow that produced milk-based soap:
In an international context, it might be said: Show me your publicity, and I'll tell you what kind of a society you are. It's a fact that US publicity often smells like the fresh ink and crisp paper of new banknotes, and sounds like the ring of an old-fashioned cash register. British publicity invariably exploits quaint caricatural characters with strange accents. Australian publicity often looks homemade, like a cart that Dad has assembled for his kids. Scandinavian publicity can be stark, like a TV reality show. As for French publicity, it often appears to be the work of would-be cineasts who are obliged to earn their living (richly) lauding products such as perfume, yoghurt and automobiles for the simple reason that nobody has ever invited them (yet) to create feature-length art films.
For 18 years, up until 2005, the phenomenon of publicity throughout the world was examined in depth in an interesting weekly TV program called Culture Pub, which became a cult program among publicity aficionados. Yesterday, Culture Pub reappeared as a website:
Its collection of thousands of online publicity videos—including over 60 Australian specimens [display]—is presented as the biggest library of this kind in the world.