John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Around the time he was filming Twin Peaks, Lynch was dabbling in some seriously bugged-out ad campaigns.
Around the time he was filming Twin Peaks, David Lynch was dabbling in some seriously bugged-out ad campaigns, as well.
Exhibit A is 1991's We Care About New York, a rodential PSA that addresses littering in New York City. The photography direction was handled by Frederick Elmes of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and, er, Bride Wars fame. After watching a slo-mo closeup of a rat's tail cycle like a plane's propeller, and a group of bikers/swingers locked into paroxysms of creepy glee, I certainly want to litter less. Hell, I want do go outside less. (Don't bother calling that number at the end. It's now a fax machine listed to Broadway Hair or Island Video.)
Lynch has quite a number of commercial works under his ferociously sculpted mop. Two years after the rat spot, he created a PSA about breast cancer for the American Cancer Society. I can't find a copy of that film online, but there are gems of Lynchian genius in promos for Calvin Klein's Obsession, the pregnancy-test kit Clear Blue Easy, Barilla Pasta (starring Gerard Depardieu!) and Georgia Coffee. Of that last ad campaign, completed in 1991, Lynchnet says:
These commercials were done for the Japanese canned coffee, Georgia. The series was set in Twin Peaks and featured many of the cast from the series. In the ads, a Japanese man searches for his missing wife. Each commercial added more clues to the mystery, until the final one where Cooper rescues her from the Black Lodge. Originally a second series of four were planned, but the Coffee company, unhappy with the first series, canceled them.
Here's a comprehensive list of Lynch's commercial efforts. They're all tinged with insanity, perhaps no more so than this teaser for Parisienne Mild cigarettes, a brand paradoxically headquartered in Boncourt, Switzerland: