Friday, February 23, 2007

The Czech Dream

Last night, a few friends and I went to see a Czech movie called the Czech Dream. I didn't really know what it was about before it started, only details I was provided was that it was a documentary about advertising in the Czech Republic. My thoughts were "ooh goody, an independent film."

So here is the background to the movie that is being called the largest consumer hoax the Czech Republic has ever seen. Two film students used a government grant for their final project and developed a big scam about a fake hypermarket that was opening in Prague. Basically they set out to explore the psychological and manipulative powers of advertising by creating an ad campaign for a store that doesn't exist. The film follows them as they develop the idea from just a thought, to the advertising campaign, full with print, radio, and TV commercials all well researched and constructed. They print and hand out fliers with fake store brand products, and even record a catchy jingle. Finally they construct the front facade of the store with a huge banner out in the field by Prague airport that will be the stage for the final reveal.

In the end, thousands of people catch on to the massive amount of advertising and show up for the store opening, that was never going to happen. It was hilarious because they keep it going up until the last minute when the shoppers storm out towards the fictitious store out in the field only to find that its all a big scam. Naturally many are pissed off, while others find the humor in it and recognize the idea behind their motives to do this. I felt bad for the elderly making their way out with their trolleys in hand.

Consumerism in the Czech Republic as it turns out is quite the phenomenon. Communism definitely contributed to this where before consumers were very limited with both quantity and quality. Now even I'm overwhelmed sometimes at the number of different brands that are available for any given product, in particular I noticed this with the yogurt aisle or I should say aisles. Many people interviewed in the movie talk about how much they love going for an afternoon shopping trip to Tesco and what a relaxing experience it is. My trips to Tesco have been about as far away from relaxing as it gets but I guess that's because I come from a different background and I'm highly impatient. Generally I avoided the Walmart's back home largely due to the massive amount of people all trying to save a couple pennies and contributing to the cult of "everyday low prices." Well it appears that Tesco is attempting the Walmart effect across Central Europe. That's my rant...

Another issue that the movie brings up, which I was unaware of, was the Czech Republics campaign to enter the European Union. Apparently this same type of ad campaign was used where Say Yes to EU was the only message offered to the public. I guess it worked and goes to show just how easily we are influenced by advertising. Overall, I thought that this was a really eye opening movie, especially for me. If you're interested, here is the link to the Czech Dream.


At 3:11 AM, Blogger ~diana~ said...

Hi Blanka!

I am soo glad you updated. I had heard you were leaving Slovakia and it's so nice to here you are settling in a new place still really far away from Calgary. I want to stay away from Calgary too...just a little longer anyways. Good luck and keep in touch!!!



Post a Comment

<< Home