1994, Sydney, Australia. Cartwright Williams. A new brief, a new
product, a new logo. Target audience: female, 25-55, mailers, take-ones,
Her Health was developed as a sub-brand of Cigna as exclusive insurance
against female illness. We struggled with the idea of being honest -
rather like insuring your car bumper and not the bonnet - but it had the
potential to create some interesting imagery. And, as any art director
will understand (after working on service industries and clients with
their increasingly frightening files of stock imagery and stringent
corporate guidelines), this looked interesting.
The concept was easy, a duo-toned Rubenesque woman entwined in orange
branches (launching the ’orange tree’ logo visually).
The birth was more difficult.
Being based in Kings Cross, one of Sydney’s more dodgy areas, calling
modelling and extras agencies for girls willing to be shot naked was not
an easy task, they seemed to suspect that there was far more to it than
just a tasteful duo-toned photograph for an insurance company. (Easier,
however, than getting a spurned, South American, non-English-speaking
photographer to do what a bikini-clad, English, female art director on a
beach in Mexico wants. But that’s another story.)
A few castings, all-over body tattoos, belly piercings and other bizarre
body disfigurements later, we found our model. The shot was taken and
the piece took form. The actual response figures escape me, but plenty
of complaints rolled in, - surprising in a land of free-living,
open-minded Aussies - and spurred on media coverage, which obviously
delighted the client. But perhaps it was even more surprising for the
public to learn that the work was put together by an all-girl team, and
particularly that the art director was a prudish ’pom’.