Wilfried Korfmacher, University of Applied
Science, Düsseldorf, Germany
Communication and design both evoke interactive behaviour and
thus can lead to constructive misunderstanding – in order to provoke new
interactive behaviour. For example, the seminar’s characterising phrase
of Dirk Baecker “Doing things together” is in German, “gemeinsame
Sache machen”. Another translator from German into English could also
translate it into “making common cause with someone”. The same goes
for the translation of my office called “Zeichen-verkehr”, meaning
“sign traffic” in English. It stands for interpreting design as
a creative process of communication in contrast to the classical static “traffic
Christian Morgenstern, poem: “The evening song of the fishes”
Lucky Strike ad: “The most important news today
is not in this ad, but sitting in front of it. Good morning.” –
“You. No one else.” (instead of: nothing else)
The Lucky Strike advertisement can only be empty because it is part of a campaign
that has been committed to a very strict creative concept for years and with
a host of motifs: to compare the metaphorically excessive advertising world
of the competition – the big, wide world of Peter Stuyvesant, the Wild
West of Marlboro Country, the fantastic tropics of Camel Trophy – with
the existential realism of the bare pack shot.
Lucky Strike ad: “Stop the thief!” –
“Lucky Strike. Nothing else.”
A regular poster display. All that’s left for the text is to shout after
the runaway. In the end, it is the idea of a visual extirpation, at best. That
is more radical than the decollage. This shows respect for a factor of advertising
communication that at any other time is usually tacitly presumed – in
the true sense of the word: the recipient.
Lucky Strike ad: “Here, a cigarette is casually
leaning against its box. And nothing else.” – “Lucky Strike.
Instead of penetrating illusionary dreams, the Lucky Strike campaign stimulates
nothing but the imagination of those looking at the advertisements and posters
by way of plays with words and images that just about comply with the first
rule of advertising: to maintain the simple presence of the medium.
The advertisement in which “a cigarette casually leans
against a box”, “nothing else”, is the first motif of the
series that also, at the same time, reveals the whole concept of the campaign.
It caricatures in elementary form the unwritten law of the creative world, never
to have the image be the exact illustration of the text (i.e. not to say anything
in the text that the image does not show already). Naturally, when the copywriter
breaks this allegorical taboo, he or she does so not without an underlying meaning.
And of course, no text can exactly express what an image says with “more
than a thousand words”.
The fact alone that the cigarette is “casually” leaning
against its box adds an ironical attitude to the headline of the visual production.
This appeals to smokers finding themselves in the aesthetics of the classic
modern age. Lucky is cool. And less is more. Did Mies van der Rohe actually
smoke? What was Loos’s attitude towards nicotine? If nothing else, the
cigarette in the hand of the smoker represents a very ornamental sign. And Sullivan?
Surely he must have liked the taste of such a functional form of seduction.
By the way, the packaging design of Lucky is from Loewy.
Time and again, the Lucky Strike motifs vary the question of
appearance and reality – of advertising reality and actual reality. “Happy”
smokers should be addicted to their Luckies such that the image alone is taken
at face value.