Ad of the Day: Fage

Willem Dafoe is becoming a force in advertising. Or at least, a common voice. Fresh from his tour de force for Jim Beam, we now find him in this spot from Mullen, waxing poetic on behalf of Fage, a brand of Greek yoghurt. Actually, "poetic" might be pushing it. Dafoe's delivery is, as usual, gravelly, ponderous and intriguing. Initially, the repetition of "plain" and "same" feels like it is building toward something ghostly and mysterious, but somehow the spell is broken around the line, "Where plain met fruits with strangely names." It's downhill from there, as each word seems to resound with an advertising feel. We leave the magic kingdom of plain and white and walk into a jingly product description. The visuals are stunning, reminiscent of those famous photos of drops of water at the moment of impact. And the transition from plain, samey whiteness to a more colorful world reinforces the message very effectively. But the sudden appearance of a cow, looking somewhat distressed in an agitated sea of milk, breaks the spell once more. It feels like the Python crew are about to dance across the screen, or the cow is about to start speaking in a high-pitched Cockney accent. (" 'Ere we go. Another bloody roiling sea of milk.") Despite the few missteps, however, the overall effect is memorable. The viewer knows what the product is and what distinguishes it. The combination of Dafoe's voice and powerful visuals win the day once more.