Clorox Mermaid commercial

May 11, 2008

Continuing my underwater commercial kick, here’s one from Clorox. A young mermaid swims in a mystical underwater environment and follows a message in a bottle up to the surface. The mermaid turns out to be a little girl taking a bath. A mother, getting ready for a night out, turns to look at her daughter. A voice says: “Because a bathroom can be more than just a bathroom. Clorox helps keep it clean, even the imaginary parts.”

This commercial (yet again) depicts the underwater space as a clean, pristine space (which establishes the conditions of possibility for imaginary spaces and imagination) and like the Whirlpool commercials, makes this the natural space of children and women.


Whirlpool underwater commercials

May 7, 2008

Whirlpool has also been using underwater spaces as a way to market dishwashers, washing machines, and general cleanliness.

This one is very similar to the Ariston commercial on the previous post: also for a washing machine, also zooming out at the end to reveal the washing machine, and also focusing on schools of sock-fish and blanket-rays. The difference is that, instead of being a little boy’s vision, it focuses on a beautiful (mermaid-like) woman swimming amidst and in awe of the beautiful underwater life/clothing.

And this ad for a dishwasher makes dishes into a coral reef. This time, the underwater dishes-reef cuts away to a woman standing on the edge of the ocean, being sprayed with foamy white water.

So what is it exactly with this trend of cleaning appliance advertisements and underwater spaces? Did they all happen to come up at the same time or are some of these knock offs?

“Drowned Circus” commercial for Farmers Insurance

April 1, 2008

This commercial for Farmers Insurance starts with an extravagant dream sequence of an underwater circus (played by Cirque de Soliel actors). The aesthetics and atmospherics of the sequence parallel those of the underwater bride photography in the previous post (everything is in slow-motion, it seems timeless and preserved). It’s interesting how weight is depicted here: circus tricks typically depend on the pull (and threat) of gravity to make their feats impressive. Here the actors perform this gravity, simulating out of water conditions under water to make the spectacle. Yet at the same time this performance comes off somewhat ironic and serves to reinforce the punchline at the end, the humor of a flooded circus.

Underwater Bride Photography

April 1, 2008

New Orleans photographer Kevin Beasley is acclaimed for his underwater bride photography, where he submerges women in wedding dresses in water. An article in the Providence journal discusses this as part of a larger “Trash the Dress” trend, where brides are photographer being “sassier,” “sexier,” and dirtier (though Beasley says these dresses are not trashed). Taking brides into an underwater environment represents the latest way to make your wedding singular and unique (underwater space is a sort of extreme space).


What is interesting is that in most of these photos, the brides are alone, floating in limbo, a white dress against a dark background. They are still, eyes open, sometimes gazing at their reflection in the surface, often gazing at the camera. Captured underwater, these women are preserved in a moment of stasis, weightlessness, and reflection after taking the plunge.