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POP EYE

July 10, 1988|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

BEHIND THE SCENES: Controversy aside, the real wizard behind the Young video is Julien Temple, who has directed a slew of stylish videos for everyone from Janet Jackson to Billy Idol. Temple has always been fascinated by the subconscious power of advertising imagery, which he gleefully subverts in this clip (just when you notice how much an impersonator resembles Whitney Houston, someone rips off her wig, exposing the charade). Temple said he dug up the original commercials at a place called the Ad Bank, then shot Polaroids of key scenes he wanted to duplicate, again relying on the visual power of the subconscious.

"I found that to parody a sequence, you don't need to re-create all the actual shots, because your memory of the ad provides a subconscious connection between shots that aren't actually there," he explained. "I thought the whole process would be really complicated, but we did everything in a day. It takes days to do a real Michelob commercial, but we did ours in two hours!"

Temple, who has directed TV commercials himself, took great pleasure in exposing the contradictory messages that many ads project. "Look at those Miller beer ads--no one seems to wonder what all those glamorous models are doing in such low-down, funky bars, somehow addicted to that awful beer," he said. "I'm sure models like that drink Martinis, don't you?"

And how's this for a pay-off? "Several ad firms liked my fake commercials so much that they've already called and asked me to do a real one," Temple said.

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