In 1967, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic founded the ‘Estonian Reklamfilm’, a creative association that would create TV commercials and movies for the Soviet state. However, it grew into the most influential advertising agency in the USSR, to the point where it was pretty much regarded as the advertising agency. Now a one hour showreel of Reklamfilm has been put on YouTube (recently unearthed by Boing Boing) and it makes for fascinating viewing. On the one hand you have the overt Soviet influence, with groups of factory workers singing about how wonderful their shoes are to the tune of Rolling Stones songs released a decade before (Western rock music from the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Pink Floyd features heavily).
However, as the video’s accompanying notes (see below) explain, being the only agency in town also provided a significant amount of creative freedom. You want to make an ad for a pharmacy with lots of naked women having a bath in the store? Sure, go do it. You want to make an avant garde ad that would put Yoko Ono to shame. Go do it. You need to liven your ad up? Just throw in a pretty girl dancing, regardless of the context. Enjoy:
Notes from YouTube Video (Poorly Translated from Estonian using Google Translate)
Warning – there are many shocking shots!
Here are some unique television commercials, produced in the Soviet era by “Estonian Reklamfilm.” In 1967, Estonia founded the creative association “Reklamfilm Estonian / Eesti reklaamfilm” – the only one at that time in the Soviet Union studio, which specialised in production kinoteleradioreklamy, and “representative” commercials for things like trade, industry, consumer services, colleges, technical schools, traffic police and other organizations in the Soviet Union. This company’s television commercials were regarded as being quite new and bold at the time.
But at the heart of the things was a very energetic person – Eedu Ojamaa. He was able to execute such a complex idea in the USSR State Committee for Cinematography. ”Estonian Reklamfilm” soon became the largest advertising company in the Soviet Union. He released a year nearly 350 commercials, and also created a lot of documentaries. The company has been amended in Leningrad and Moscow and Riga branch of executed orders for the Union.
Finnish companies were also clients of the agency. Until 1992, the “Estonian Reklamfilm” produced more than 6,000 commercials and movies. clear that under socialism, in the absence of private ownership and competition, TV ads had a somewhat different view and pursued a very different purpose. The director and advertisers did not have the strict limits and constraints you would associate with contemporary TV commercials.
So they used all their creativity to create bright, memorable and quality films. However, many of the films produced by the company did not survive. This anthology – a collection of the private collection of Harry Egipta – a former director and screenwriter “Estonian Reklamfilma”, called his colleagues “Norshtein advertising” for the unusual associative moments in his work similar to the work of the author of “Hedgehog in the Fog”.
Credo Egipta in television commercials – a fast-moving and catchy individual style common in those days, original music and songs, and of course, beautiful women! This collection features 84 commercials 70′s and 80′s of the XX century, taken by different directors Estonian “Eesti Reklaamfilm” (not counting a couple of modern advertising from sponsors). Most of these commercials came out on television screens, but there are works that didn’t make it due to censorship.