CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Naked fun without the sleaze - It was Lesley Clarke’s first campaign and it had to be different

By HARRIET GREEN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 01 May 1998 12:00AM

Lesley Clarke, managing director of the Nicky Clarke haircare group and wife of the eponymous celebrity hairdresser, was determined that her first advertising campaign would turn heads.

Lesley Clarke, managing director of the Nicky Clarke haircare group

and wife of the eponymous celebrity hairdresser, was determined that her

first advertising campaign would turn heads.



The ads for Nicky Clarke’s Sport range certainly do that. Not for Lesley

Clarke shots of shiny-haired beauties tossing their manes and endorsing

the products. Instead her ads, created by Publicis Focus, show beautiful

but startlingly graphic shots of naked models (male and female) washing

each other’s hair (Campaign, last week). Unusually for a haircare range,

a couple of the male models featured are bald. ’I didn’t want to see any

more heads of hair flicking across the screen,’ she proclaims. ’I hate

those ads. Anyone can do that. I wanted to give a lifestyle message. You

are buying an image not a hair follicle.’



Clarke, who invented Sport and the earlier Hairomatherapy range, was

determined the ads should not come across as smutty. As the lone female

voice on the ads’ development, she insisted the images must involve both

sexes. ’Originally, it started with lots of women. But I didn’t want a

campaign with lecherous men drooling over women’s bodies. I hope we’ve

got a balance .’



A fashion designer by trade, Clarke enjoyed the shoot, which took place

in South Africa. Working alongside Tony McGee, a photographer friend of

both her and Nicky, she took a hand in every detail from casting to

styling.



’We had to be very upfront when we were casting. Some models said they

didn’t want to do it when we explained underwear might not be an option,

but others didn’t mind at all. It was a really fun shoot. On the last

day, the models didn’t want to go home and we all went to the beach.

That’s where we got the shots of the two guys washing each other’s

hair.’



Clarke, who is now working on a men’s haircare range, is laid back about

any complaints the campaign may trigger. ’There may be some redress but

they’re not about titillating men. It’s not a tacky campaign but a

carefree one about bodies, life and having fun.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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