Rating: * NO LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL FOR RAIL SPOT

By Published on .

The film is toned terra cotta, the musical background operatic as a slender, dark-haired young woman glides into the frame in super-slow motion, looking like a Modigliani come to life in the nude. The camera doesn't so much capture its subject as caress her. It is sultry, sensual, erotic. Also Swedish, from Welinder Advertising, Stockholm.

The next shot is...a highway bridge with a truck passing over it? Yeah, that's what it is, for no apparent reason. But, oh, the highway disappears as mysteriously as it appeared and now here comes this languid nymph's opposite number: A lean Adonis, also naked, approaching her with deliberate purpose.

The next shot is a railroad bridge with a train traversing it.

Hmmm. We still don't know what's going on, but we begin to suspect there is there is some sort of symbolism afoot. Although we hope not.

Back to our couple, who are photographed only from the shoulders up. Slowly they come face to face with urgency in their eyes and God knows what in their underwear. And then...and then a train enters a tunnel.

Toot! Toot! A train entering a tunnel juxtaposed with a man and woman, dare we say, coming together. If one were predisposed to putting a sexual interpretation on mundane images of heavy transportation, one might almost see a Freudian allusion here. Let's see, what famous function of human physiology could such an image possibly mean to suggest? We're guessing not peristalsis.

Anyway, this lovely couple finally is conjoined, by the hand, a la Michaelangelo, and the next image is of sparks flying where an electric locomotive's pantagraph traces the overhead power line. We should have such handshakes, but never mind that, because now we find out whether trucks and trains symbolize the union of man and woman or vice versa.

Turns out it's the vice versa. This is all an ad for RailCombi, with the message: "Trucks and trains. The best of both worlds. Goods-transport service combining road and rail." Road, rail and, perhaps, gonads.

Look, we realize Sweden is somewhat renowned for its "I Am Curious Yellow" image of sexual unrepressiveness. And we recognize that European advertising in general is substantially more sexually explicit, or at least preoccupied, than it is in other regions of the globe.

But isn't mating imagery in a freight commercial a little bit...oh, how can we put this...incongruous, ridiculous and stupid?

This doesn't mean we object to sex in advertising. We don't object at all, under the proper circumstances. But the advantages of dual-mode freight hauling do not constitute the proper circumstances. The comparison to human conjugation is not only cheap and silly, but also dangerous. If we were a shipper of freight, and we saw such a spot, in all probability we would draw exactly the wrong conclusion:

Combine truck and train and -like the handsome, horny couple-find yourself getting thoroughly...

Never mind.

The rating system

The rating system uses four stars to represent excellent, three for notable, two for mediocre and one for pathetic.

In this article:
Most Popular