The naked young women.
The lovely, naked young women, frolicking in the shower. It isn't just them that made the Carlsberg Pilsner spot called "The Community" so wonderful that it rates mention long after its springtime run in Denmark.
Though undeniably this masterpiece, from Saatchi & Saatchi, Copenhagen, did feature a 10-second sequence involving full frontal nudity, this is not what made the ad so charming and memorable to merit posthumous praise. Quite to the contrary, what drove the spot was total command of the comic storyteller's art: broad-but-controlled characterization, suspense, incremental building of the joke and the hilarious payoff. In addition, it showed women with no clothes on.
The spot opened with a spacy long hair answering the door at a retro-60s commune, filled with drugged out young people, stroboscopic lighting, acid rock, a dog named Mao and a sharing of everything: the one illegally hooked-up television, the sex partners, the communal toothbrush and, yes, in orgies of good hygiene, the shower.
In actual fact, the coed bathing was not meant to be erotic to the viewer; it just ratcheted up of the goofy joke: a prospective new member of The Community increasingly wide-eyed at the permissive tableau. Viewers had the advantage of knowing a punch line was coming, but-even as the amazed visitor reached the bedroom-no clue as to what that punch line might be.
Then we saw it, on the waterbed. A case of Carlsberg.
"So this," the visitor said, "must be our*.*.*.*" But before he could finish his thought, his laid-back host became suddenly loud and aggressive, running to the bed, grabbing the case of bottles and shouting:
"No way, man! That's my beer! You just keep your damn hands off!"
Then a title card, the chauvinistic slogan of Denmark's own pilsner: "Our beer."
Bravo. In the context of a commune where everything is freely shared, but Carlsberg, the slogan was not only nationalistic but also ironic. And therefore, like the commercial itself, all the more indelible on the viewer consciousness. The whole package, in fact, was utterly irresistible. Transcendent. Somehow, in its retrospective silliness, even life-affirming, as every now and again extraordinary advertising can be.
We are therefore sad that we discovered it only after it ceased to be in rotation, and have to demand that it be revived. It was too good to retire.
Their beer. Our loss. Moreover, although it is Danish, and therefore by federal law probably mandated to include at least a minimum of nudity, we hasten to add that it included pictures of naked women.
The rating system
The rating system uses four stars to represent excellent, three for notable, two for mediocre and one for pathetic.