I Know It's An Ad But This Animation From Citroën Is So Damn Charming

Illustration for article titled I Know Its An Ad But This Animation From Citroën Is So Damn Charming
Screenshot: Citroën

I don’t really like running (currently operating) carmakers’ ads in stories unless I’m going to mock them, though occasionally I have admitted my profound admiration for a particularly well-crafted ad campaign. This is one of those times when a bit of advertising just proves to be charming enough to worth a mention. Plus, it’s from Citroën, who doesn’t even sell cars here, so I can’t be that big a shill.

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Here’s the ad, which Citroën sent out in a tweet. Maybe it’s on other venues like Minitel or whatever, but I’m not sure:

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The style of the animation is what’s so appealing. It’s CG, but stylistically it feels strangely like the American 1930s to 1940s WPA-type style, in form, line quality, color palettes, and more, right down to the agricultural setting of the animation, which is fitting for the ad, as it references the 2CV’s famous early design brief to be a sort of farmers’ car where they could drive over a plowed field with a basket of eggs on the seat without breaking a single egg.

You can see some examples of what I’m talking about here, in these two paintings. The one on the left is Grant Wood’s (of American Gothic fame) Death on Ridge Road of 1935, and the right one is Thomas Hart Benton’s Missouri Landscape.

Illustration for article titled I Know Its An Ad But This Animation From Citroën Is So Damn Charming
Image: Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton

To compare here’s some screenshots of the Citroën video:

Illustration for article titled I Know Its An Ad But This Animation From Citroën Is So Damn Charming
Screenshot: Citroën
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I think there’s something there? I also noticed another interesting stylistic parallel:

Illustration for article titled I Know Its An Ad But This Animation From Citroën Is So Damn Charming
Image: Citroën, MoMA
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This reference may be a bit closer to home for Citroën, as I found some of it to remind me of Fernand Leger, the French Cubist, especially in the palette and the way the images are actually rendered.

Maybe I’m reading more into this than is merited, but I haven’t seen this type of artwork animated all that often, and I think it’s a very appropriate choice for Citroën to celebrate the 2CV’s heritage of comfort and non-egg-breaking, and if that puts me in the pocket of Big Citroën, then, well, I’d like my check, please.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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DISCUSSION

curbwatching
curbwatching

It always makes me a little sad when automakers show their once-great models in an ad that’s eventually going to lead to their current, bland, undesirable ones.