The World’s Saddest Clown Pines for Love in This Bleak, Beautiful Ad for Flower Delivery

Longing for the circus ballerina

Ladies and gentlemen, now appearing in the center ring … a sad-ass clown with a heavy case of unrequited love.

The unhappy hero of this bleak but beautiful 75-second ad for Danish flower-delivery service Interflora tries letters, balloons and gifts to charm the object of his affection—an aerial artist who is apparently the shining star of this particular show. But something goes wrong every time, and she barely knows he's alive.

Brandhouse in Copenhagen created the spot, with lots of deft touches that underscore the clown's despair, such as the moody interplay of muted light and shadow, and shots of shabby wood-paneled circus trailers.

"The idea was to find the most heartfelt situation with the deepest possible feelings," agency creative director Mikkel Elung tells AdFreak.

"We needed to find a person who would have the most difficulties in expressing his love. And we couldn't find a better character than a clown who is in love with the beautiful circus ballerina. They are miles apart in every possible way, and traditionally they are not meant to be together, which increases the drama."

Shot in dull hues by Bacon director Martin Werner—with a downer soundtrack by Louise Alenius—the cinematic effort oozes melancholia (this is Denmark, after all), but it's also memorably affecting.

"We think there is hope." says Elung, "We just stop the story before it becomes advertising. The idea is to tap into every human's experience with how difficult it can be to express your feelings to the love of your life." What's more, he adds, "it's a tribute to real life and to the ones that keep trying—and a reminder that Interflora is here to help."

If roses don't do the trick, maybe the clown can take voice lessons and impress her with an aria or something. (That worked out great in Pagliacci. Didn't it?) Or if he really can't stand the pain, ol' baggy pants can always quit the Big Top, hit the highway in his comically small clown car and work birthday parties instead.

Actually, according to Elung, the clown was spared an even crappier fate in the final edit. "We had planned to incorporate an elephant in the commercial. It was on set, and we got a lot of footage of it," he says. "But in all the usable scenes, it had a tendency to poop, so we ended up cutting that out."


Client: Interflora

Agency: Brandhouse

Creative Director: Mikkel Elung

Art Director: Sigurd Bjerre

Copywriter: Simon Kragh

Director: Martin Werner

Production Company: Bacon

Producer: Malene Dyhring

Director of Photography: Lasse Frank

Editor: Rasmus Gitz-Johansen

Join Dwyane WadeJulian DuncanAndrea BrimmerRick Gomez and more at Brandweek Masters Live, on Sept. 14-17, for main stage insights, in-depth Masterclasses and more. Register now (early-bird rates expire 9/1)

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.