Anne-Marie Crawford says that the moody Boots ads are the idea of a
Ian Hunter knows more about make-up than most women. Yet he’s also a
fanatical Liverpool fan and thoroughly enjoys a regular outing to the
terraces with the lads.
In addition, Hunter is guardian of one of the best-known brands in the
country and has just commissioned some of the most ground-breaking
advertising in his sector.
As group product manager of Boots No 7, Hunter has a fairly untypical
job for a bloke - after all, mascara and eyeliner are usually more a
woman’s domain, aren’t they? When you suggest this, Hunter laughs, but
then carefully explains why he is suited to his chosen career. ‘Women
can be subjective about make-up - they have their favourites. But I can
be objective. It’s about listening to other people,’ he says.
It’s through listening to other people that Hunter and the team down at
No 7’s ad agency, St Luke’s, dreamed up the unusual new advertising
approach, which eschews both product shots and the use of models
(Campaign, last week). In fact, there are no solid images in the work.
Instead, each commercial attempts to encapsulate the broad sweep of a
woman’s different moods using bold, variously coloured imagery.
Research conducted by Boots since it relaunched No 7 in February 1995
revealed that many consumers were turned off by ads that showed
cosmetics and models as glamorous and unattainable. Consequently, Hunter
started the hunt for a way to make the product more relevant to
Hunter has worked on No 7 for three years. Now aged 34, he is a Boots
lifer who joined the company as a graduate trainee from Leeds University
in 1983. Since then, he has worked across a number of the Boots
‘business centres’, such as skincare and haircare.
In fact, it is precisely these diverse career opportunities and a
structure Hunter claims ‘allows individuals to express themselves’, that
have kept him loyal to the company for so many years. Just as well - for
a minute there, we were beginning to suspect it was the make-up.