Feb 24, 2014


Edouard Manet famously included bottles of Bass Ale in his 1882 work ‘Un bar aux Folies Bergère’. An early example of product placement perhaps, but more likely the artist’s (or bar owner’s) attempt to express something deeper, through the Englishness that this artefact connotes.

Back in the supermarket gallery there is a wonderful variety of ways in which artists include the product in their compositions. Of course the default is to make it look improbably delicious, but even this can be done in an artful, emotional way. Slightly riskier is the approach seen here, where the product commits itself fully to the brand story. Quite what a triangular baked snack has to do with escapism I’m not entirely sure (probably an escape from saturated fats), but who could resist the charm of these salty nautical scenes, topped off with a clean, crisp whiteness that Persil would be proud of. There I go, mixing my metaphors again, but that’s all part of the game.