Czech Dream

cesky sen

Czech Dream‘ is a 2004 documentary film directed by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda, which recorded a large-scale hoax perpetrated by the filmmakers on the Czech public, culminating in the ‘opening event’ of a fake hypermarket (a supermarket and a department store in one).

The film was their final project for film school. Remunda and Klusák invented the ‘Český sen’ (‘Czech Dream’) hypermarket and created a massive advertising campaign around it.

Posing as businessmen, the two film students managed to persuade an ad agency and a public relations agency to create a campaign for them. Billboards appeared on Czech highways, and 200,000 pamphlets were distributed in Prague. A jingle was recorded, and there was a series of television commercials. The advertising campaign slogans were ‘don’t come’ and ‘don’t spend,’ etc. Still, the filmmakers succeeded in attracting more than 3000 shoppers to an empty plain for their ‘grand opening.’ What looked like a huge building from a distance was actually only a canvas facade backed by scaffolding.

As customers gathered, trinkets and small gifts were available—key chains and flags—so that everyone would leave with something. A master of ceremonies kept up a commentary as people gathered and finally asked Klusák and Remunda, the ‘managers,’ to cut a ribbon. After this, the barricades were removed, and people could walk or run towards the facade. When the ‘customers’ finally realized that they had been deceived, they reacted in different ways. Some understood the filmmakers’ message, some tried to take it optimistically (‘At least we had some fresh air’), but most were angry, and many decided to blame the government.

The idea for the hoax came from a 2002 study by Incoma Research reporting that 30% of Czechs shop mainly at hypermarkets. There has been growing concern in the country about the growth of advertising and consumerism. Other than holding a sort of a mirror up to consumer society, the film also shows how advertising companies work and what methods and tricks they use.

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