Experimental Film: The term describes a range of filmmaking styles that are generally quite different from, and often opposed to, the practices of mainstream commercial filmmaking.
Despite many such practices being outside of the commercial space we have seen how the music industry and bands have made use of experimental films and filmmakers to promote their work.
It is also the case that many advertising agencies will actively look toward experimental work to give them ideas for ways to promote their clients products.
So although experimental work sits outside and to the side of the commercial sector its influence appears in this arena frequently and often without attribution:
Honda Cog Advert:
The advert took 600 takes. Ad Agency Wieden & Kennedy.
Der Lauf Der Dinge won awards at the Berlin and Sydney film festivals and was described by the New York Times as a “masterpiece”.
Two artists whose work has been shown at Tate Modern are threatening legal action against Honda UK, claiming the company’s hit “Cog” commercial is a rip-off of their award-winning short film.
Peter Fischli and David Weiss say Honda’s 60-second commercial, which is already being described as one of the most impressive television adverts ever made, copies key elements of their 30-minute film, Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go), which was made in 1987.
They claim the creatives behind the Honda advert must have seen their film, in which everyday objects such as string, soap, balloons and mattresses – fuelled by fire, gas, and gravity – move in a domino-like chain reaction.
In an interview with Creative Review, Mr Fischli said he believed they should have been consulted by Honda’s advertising agency, Wieden & Kennedy.
“Of course we didn’t invent the chain reaction and Cog is obviously a different thing. But we did make a film the creatives of the Honda ad have obviously seen. We feel we should have been consulted about the making of this ad,” he said.
“Companies and ad agencies have asked us for permission to use the film on several occasions but for this reason we have always said no.”
Honda confirmed it had received the letter and said it was “looking into the allegations”.
“As far as I know there’s no such thing as copyright of an idea,” said a spokesman.
The case echoes that of film director Mehdi Norowzian, who took Guinness to court claiming a high-profile commercial for the brand copied one of his short films. The case went to the high court but the judge ruled against Norowzian and ordered him to pay costs of up to £200,000 to Guinness.