Winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, Logorama is the story of a police chase through an alternate Los Angeles made entirely of corporate logos. The 16-minute film, collectively written and directed by the French graphics and animation studio H5, is the company’s first short film since forming in 1996. Up until now the company were best known for creating visuals for bands such as Air and Super Furry Animals, and advertising for brands such as Cartier and Dior.
The film follows the chase of a crazed criminal (Ronald McDonald) by two of LA’s finest cops (both Michelin men) across a city entirely comprised of logos from every company you can care to think of. Ronald McDonald has more than a hint of The Joker about him, while the cops are the classic LA lawmen you’d expect hot on his tail; each character’s personality has been crafted to specifically suit their role while never taking away their corporate identity. The high production values and attention to detail make the short film stand out from the beginning; beautiful visuals and perfect sound design create an atmosphere normally reserved for the most high-end of Hollywood blockbusters.
Though the storyline’s main concern is the chase of the mad Ronald McDonald, other strands to the story all intertwine with each other across the 16-minute short. The two lecherous Pringles men argue over which of them the Esso-girl waitress is more likely to go home with, despite her lack of interest, while both Big Boy and Haribo Kid ditch a school trip to the zoo and get caught up in the day’s crazy events.
The use of logotypes are to “describe an alarming universe (similar to the one we are living in) with all the graphic signs that accompany us every day in our lives”, said H5 of their film. Watching the film from start to finish it is hard to find a logo that you won’t recognise. Despite the fact that many are American only brands film and television has clearly pushed their logos and branding into everyone’s consciousness.
The apocalyptic end to the film is seen as a world collapsing underneath the weight of it’s own branding and logos. The absurdity of a logo’s omnipresence is explored throughout the film but it is only when the final credits are rolling that you may realise this. Up until then the story alone is compelling enough to fully deserve its Academy Award.