Galaxy Chocolates (more commonly known as "Dove," in this part of the world) is trying to revive their brand by resurrecting a late screen icon to shill their sweets. Thanks to some digital wizardry, Audrey Hepburn is back from the dead, and she looks good, if perhaps a little stiff (computers seem to have captured much of her charm, but none of her acting talent). Our partners at MTV Geek brought this unusual commercial to our attention:
"A CGI clone of the lovely late Audrey Hepburn has been creepily rendered by creepy ad folks in the above commercial for Galaxy chocolate because sure, why not trot out the literally re-animated body of an icon to sell candy? This commercial marks a new step in the evolution of the computer regeneration of deceased famous people. We've seen John Wayne sell Coors Light, Fred Astaire dance with a vacuum, Tupac share the stage with Snoop Dog, and Harrison Ford in 'Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.' But each of those dead-folks-come-to-lifes were essentially cropped out pervious performances integrated into the real world. The Hepburn commercial is an actual computer animation. Not sure if her entire body is animated or if it's just Hepburn's face on an actress's body, sort of like that horrifying young Jeff Bridges in 'Tron Legacy.' Could even be mo-cap. This is a much more advanced version of the trickery used by Robert Zemeckis to resurrect JFK and John Lennon in 'Forrest Gump.'"
Personally, I don't have any trouble with this, at least in this particular case. Pop culture sustains itself by consuming itself, contorting its iconography -- living, dead or undead -- into new positions in order to stay alive. If the cinema has made one thing abundantly clear, it's that images have a life of their own, and must be understood independent of the the people, places and things that they represent. Galaxy Chocolates is suggesting that Audrey Hepburn had a thing for sweets. If anything, the commercial asserts and reaffirms Hepburn's enduring status as an icon. Of course, it's easy to brush it off when the imagery is so warm and light, and the decreasing costs of this technology mean that it's only a matter of time before it's used to more nefarious ends (translation: porn). But any time an ad for chocolate gives us reason to consider the various ways that we mediate our culture, that's reason enough to celebrate. Besides, the world could always use a little bit more Audrey.