The translucent amber colour of Pears soap is its most distinctive
characteristic, and the one which Bartle Bogle Hegarty singled out when
asked to create the brand’s first advertising campaign for ten years.
The first two press executions appeared last winter, featuring a tap and
some pears, all apparently carved out of a bar of Pears soap. And last
month, three more ads appeared, this time featuring a feather, drops of
water and a diamond.
Graham Watson, a creative director at BBH, guessed from the start that
his team would not be able to create these images using real soap. For a
start, each bar of Pears takes two months to make, so to create slabs
big enough to carve shapes out of would have been enormously time
’We did experiment with the soap to see what the texture should be
like,’ Watson says, ’but we decided on resin because it is a lot more
So the model-maker, Gavin Lindsey, who has worked with BBH on most of
its Boddingtons press campaigns, was called in for the job. He moulded
the basic shapes out of sculpting plasticine. He then made a cast of the
mould which was used to create a resin replica.
The moulds were quite large - the feather, for instance, is 18 inches
long - and the approval process for each mould was long-winded. Client,
agency and sculptor had to pour over a lot of pictorial references
before the photographer, Jonathan Lovekin, began work on the final
images for the campaign.
Each 3D resin shape was placed on a light box for the photo-shoot. To
create an authentic colour gradation, the resin used for the models was
the same tone as the lightest part of a bar of Pears. Patches of darker
colour were then added by placing acetate silhouettes over appropriate
parts of the models. Lighting also played a part in creating the right
translucent quality for the soap.
Lovekin explains: ’The feather was the hardest. It’s a flatter shape so
it was harder to get concentrated colour and depth.’ Lindsey agrees: ’We
looked at endless feathers. It was difficult to stop it looking like a
Finishing touches were added in post-production, perfecting the textures
and shadows to give the impression that the images have been carved from
a bar of soap.