"As well as looking fantastic, the ad has a clear and original vision that most viewers won't see coming"
8 / 10
You wouldn't normally expect a make-up ad to be action-packed but No7’s latest offering is no run-of-the-mill cosmetics spot. Drawing on influences from Westerns to art films, the brand’s latest spot tracks a course towards a much more memorable kind of marketing, starting with a rather unusual cameo from Olympic fencer Monica Aksamit.
When we first see Aksamit she is dressed in fencing whites and mask preparing to face-off against her opponent. Around them, a stark valley rises in rippling layers, set against a clear blue sky. This is no ordinary fencing match, but things take a swing for the surreal as soon as our leads starting swinging sabres.
As a heavy guitar riff thrums on the score, the combatant’s swinging swords send arcs of rouge, foundation and eyeliner soaring through the air. Marvellous clouds of make-up puff into existence, all captured by director Juan Cabral’s camera. It may sound a little silly, but the effect looks magnificent.
In between these action shots, we see interspersed close-ups of a woman applying make-up. Though it's implied this is probably Aksamit, the spot plays very coy with its star’s identity.
In fact, in what may well be a first for this kind of athletic sponsorship, we never see Monica Aksamit’s face during the spot’s minute duration, with Cabral cutting away just as she removes her mask in the final seconds.
Over this, we hear her say, "make-up doesn't make me better. Or does it?", adding to the air of mystery already created in this Mother London-produced spot. If nothing else, No 7 has created an ad that doesn't mind leaving a little open to interpretation.
The ad’s final text, "Make-up for you and you alone", does elucidate matters a little bit. With this campaign, No 7 has clearly tried to portray an internal experience of wearing cosmetics and the results are strikingly original, the decision to keep the ad’s star unseen being one of its boldest parries.
Not only is this almost unheard of in the realm of sports sponsorship, in which female athletes are frequently objectified, this move chimes with the ad’s overall message about personal satisfaction over appealing to others.
This is just another way No 7 goes out of its way to surprise us in "Ready for anything" and these curveballs may well help propel the spot to strong engagement figures online. As well as looking fantastic, the ad has a clear and original vision that most viewers won't see coming.