March 03, 2005

Art in the name of cheese



Sharp eyes may have recognized Brooke Shields in the Breck ad pictured in the previous post. She was one in a series of American beauties who launched their careers shilling for the shampoo brand. In the US, the Breck ads were iconic and, though the shampoo is no longer, the saccharine artwork that sold it lives on at the Smithsonian.

On the other hand, no American celebrity or celebrity-to-be has ever, to my knowledge, endorsed cheese. At least not at home. Even Minnie Mouse had to cross the Atlantic to put her seal of approval on a product that she couldn't be better suited to sell. And I suspect she did the work without the knowledge of her US employer.

If you've read Clotaire Rapaille's case study on cheese marketing [see the end of the previous post], you wont doubt that the French love of cheese exceeds even the North American love of flowing, silky, hygenic hair. And for as long as the French have been putting soft-ripened cheeses into little wooden boxes, they've been tenderly adorning them with beautiful works of art.

Charles de Gaulle famously wondered whether a country that boasted 246 cheeses could be goverened. I wonder what he would have thought of France's roughly 25,000 cheese label collectors. Le Tyrosémiophile is a monument to this wonderful form of ephemera. The site is in French, but simply click on "par thèmes" to view the amazing collection by theme or "par départements" to view them by origin. Don't miss the "artistiques" category, where you will find, among others, this Surrealism-inspired Camembert label:



Oh, and the cheeses are pretty nice too. Visit France Fromages and never look back.

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