CAMPAIGN CRAFT: CRAFT SECRETS - Going back to bare necessities for the more natural effect/How a ’real’ look was given to Boots’ daring toiletries film. Chris Jenkins reports

The cheeky cinema ad for Boots’ Natural Collection toiletries looks like a piece of post-production trickery but, in fact, the director stuck to the ’natural’ theme by shooting as much as possible using ’unproduced’ techniques.

The cheeky cinema ad for Boots’ Natural Collection toiletries looks

like a piece of post-production trickery but, in fact, the director

stuck to the ’natural’ theme by shooting as much as possible using

’unproduced’ techniques.



To the sound of Kate Robbins singing Carioca, the ad features an

audience of grannies sipping tea in a restaurant, while a naked girl

cavorts underwater, pressing parts of her body against the walls of a

giant glass tank. The tagline is ’happy bits, happy self’ and the amount

of bare flesh on show prompted Boots’ agency, St Luke’s, to have the ad

classified by the British Board of Film Classification as a film, rather

than a commercial, to achieve a 12 certificate and reach the desired

audience.



The account director, David Pensell, explains: ’It was conceived as a

piece of cinema, to have a cultish appeal, and you need to see it in the

cinema to get the full effect.’



Written by Tim Hearn and art directed by Kate Stanners, the ad was

produced by James Bretherton and directed by Ringan Ledwidge for Tank

Films. ’Because we wanted to avoid using compositing techniques, we shot

the two main elements together,’ Ledwidge says. ’The girl, Marianne

Melhaus, is a dancer, and followed a choreographed set of movements. She

could stay underwater for several minutes, but it still took two days to

shoot.’



So that the shots of the restaurant and the tank were both properly

exposed, Ben Seresin, the photographer, used a dimming system which

reduced the lighting on the set as the shots zoomed in on the tank. Next

came the technical bit. Ledwidge had shot oils, glycerine, milk and

petrol being agitated by a stirrer. This ’texture’ footage was taken to

Smoke and Mirrors for compositing work by the Flame artist, Jon

Hollis.



’We used a different texture for each product in the Boots range,’

Ledwidge says, ’and since we had shot them at 150 frames per second, we

had the option of altering the speed to match the texture movements to

the model’s own.’



The ad aims to make young women feel good about their bodies, and

certainly did the trick for one girl - the model so impressed a visitor

from a nearby film set that she was offered a part in the new James Bond

movie.



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