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"Happy" exhibition illustrates clichéd world of advertising

The exhibition explores the concept of happiness in advertising. www.mfk.ch

An exhibition of advertisements portraying a world of perfect bliss where consumers are universally happy with their lives and with the products they buy has opened at the Museum for Communication in Bern.

This content was published on September 10, 2001 - 09:27

The exhibition, entitled "Happy: the promise of advertising", attempts to expose the world of commercials on television, radio and advertising hoardings.

Slogans, messages and logos from advertisements published and put on display for public consumption in the last century are all part of the exhibits.

A television screen shows images used in modern advertising, where family life is shown to be perfect, with "blue skies, devoted children, toddlers who wash themselves and faultless teenagers".

Exhibition organisers hope "Happy" will allow museum visitors to visualise the clichés of happiness which "permeate our society".

The exhibition is divided into a number of zones, including "Happy-History", which traces the history of advertisements and of the different variations on the theme of happiness companies have used in the 20th century to promote their products.

The results of a specially commissioned survey into how happy the Swiss feel they are themselves, carried out by the Lucerne-based research institute, LINK, have been published and collated for display at the museum.

The museum is also calling on members of the public to bring along their own personal "happy" possessions such as lucky charms or talismans, which will be photographed and then put on display as an integral part of the exhibition.

The exhibition at the Museum for Communication runs until July 28 2002.

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