Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ingmar and me.

Early on in my career I worked on Gorton's Fish products. Gorton wanted to trumpet the healthy side of eating fish. My partner and I came up with a concept based on the scene in Bergman's classic The Seventh Seal in which the protagonist plays chess with death. We had the bright idea to recreate the scene with a fish-stick playing death instead, and defeating it.

Somehow we sold the spot and we decided to contact Bergman to see if he'd be interested in directing it. We figured that was no more outlandish than Gorton's actually buying the spot. To our surprise, "Ing" (as he preferred to be called) said OK. He actually thought it was pretty funny.

Bergman had never shot a commercial before and he insisted on the first rough cut. When that came in at 128-minutes we realized we had a problem on our hands. "Ing" proved to be a nice guy, however, and once he understood what we meant by a "tir tee" he readily complied. The spot ran for over two years and picked up a host of awards in the European shows. We were shutout in the US, though. A bit too ethereal for the judges.

Adjö så länge, Ingmar. Goodbye, my friend. I shall miss you.


Mick said...


I love this story and have told several people about it. I think it has the makings of a great parlor game. Pick the director and the film and then the product. I'll go second. How about Stanley Kubrick, Clockwork Orange, Alex being reprogrammed scene and the product is the evening news.


geo said...

but, this one is true.

Mick said...

That's the genius of it. Fellini doing commercials kinda makes sense, but Bergman. . . magic.