Salvador Dalí Goes Commercial: Three Strange Television Ads

Some years ago, a writer for Pub­lish­er’s Week­ly said, “Sal­vador Dalí’s swan-dive from Sur­re­al­ist vision­ary to pathet­ic self-par­o­dy sure­ly con­sti­tutes one of this cen­tu­ry’s great case stud­ies in career sui­cide.”

Fair enough. But Sal­vador Dalí doing a swan dive is a fun thing to watch, as these three tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials from his lat­er years demon­strate. The artist appeared in TV ads for a num­ber of clients, includ­ing Lan­vin Choco­lates, Alka-Seltzer and Vet­er­a­no brandy.

In the 1968 Lan­vin com­mer­cial, the wild-eyed artist takes a bite of choco­late and it curls his mus­tache. He looks at the cam­era and says, “I’m crazy about Lan­vin Choco­lates,” with the empha­sis on “crazy.”

Of course, there was method in Dalí’s mad­ness. Accord­ing to his biog­ra­ph­er Meryle Secrest, Dalí’s min­i­mum price for a minute of film was $10,000. The artist’s love of mon­ey is leg­endary. In 1939 André Bre­ton, founder of the Sur­re­al­ist move­ment, gave Dalí the nick­name “Avi­da Dol­lars,” an ana­gram for “Sal­vador Dali” based on the French avide à dol­lars. It means “eager for dol­lars.”

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Relat­ed con­tent:

Sal­vador Dali Gets Sur­re­al with Mike Wal­lace (1958)

A Soft Self-Por­trait of Sal­vador Dali, Nar­rat­ed by Orson Welles

Andy Warhol and Sal­vador Dalí in Clas­sic 1968 Bran­iff Com­mer­i­cals: ‘When You Got it, Flaunt it!’

A Tour Inside Sal­vador Dalí’s Labyrinthine Span­ish Home


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.