Although relatively new to commercials, Johan Renck, sometime
protege of his fellow Swede, Jonas Akerlund, has already made a big
impact. His vibrant commercials for Festis (a soft drink) and Cyklo-F (a
sanitary pad) prove that relatively unglamorous products can inspire
lively and eye-catching work.
In a promotional spot for Helsinki - City of Culture 2000 he pokes fun
at the notion of culture as metaphorical wake-up call, showing a skinny
man sniffing a warm sock as part of his morning routine, a far cry from
the opera houses and art expos we normally associate with ’culture’.
Renck has a pop promos background, initially for his own band Stakker Bo
(who had a top five UK hit in 1993). Represented by Jane Fuller
Associates in the UK and Europe and Petterson Akerlund Filmproduktion in
Sweden, he brings an edgy and slightly twisted vision to each piece of
Recent promos for Baxter, Suede’s She’s in Fashion and Madonna’s Nothing
Really Matters mix innovative effects with bright colours and
Although Renck claims his work is ’post-production intensive’, he
believes ’it must be grounded in function and reason’. He cites recent
Janet Jackson and Busta Rhymes promos as examples of effects-laden work
that is ’soulless and ugly without taste’.
Renck has heroes - he loves Michel Gondry’s work - but wants to avoid
overt influences. His use of wood, angular bodies, saturated colours and
the unexpected twist have given him a distinctive style which should
ensure he keeps his own niche for some time to come.