Director-artiste David Lynch would like to point out that despite calling product placement "f**king bulls**t," his latest film for Dior is a straight commercial, not a product placement. Lynch made this distinction clear some time ago during a panel discussion, saying, "I do, sometimes, commercials to make money."
Not that the 12-minute short film Lynch has created around Shanghai and Marion Cotillard's considerable charms (and Dior's latest handbag) comes across as a shallow money-making endeavor.
On the surface, the director of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks may be a strange choice for a haute couture brand, but in execution Lynch's distinctive cinematic style comes through, creating an allure and mystery around the brand that transcends a straightforward ad and might not have been possible with a more conventional commercial director.
Dior designer John Galliano explains the reasoning behind hiring Lynch for the third installment of the Lady Dior short film series: "He was the right one – the style, the mystery, the suspense.”
Dior's not alone in seeing the benefit of attracting top-shelf cinematic talent. BMW, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent have convinced art-house directors such as Lynch, Ang Lee, Baz Luhrmann, and Martin Scorsese to lend their cinematic chops to their brands.
When magic strikes, they not only get a distinct visual extension to their brands, but trigger a viral conversation piece such as the buzz around the now-iconic BMW film series featuring five directors and actor Clive Owen as "the driver" in each short film.
It's a great strategy that takes a luxury brand and validates it as more than just a commercial product. The directors, by virtue of being true "artists," elevate the luxury brands to art, and art is justifiably expensive.
Meanwhile, back to Lynch's thoughts on true product placement - Dior has that angle covered as well.