Advertising: L'Oréal's storm trooper marches on

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The Independent Online

She's taking it in hand. Her body. She's got a programme, a regime. She's probably got a Powerpointed schedule on her laptop too. She's in charge of every centimetre of cellulite. Except, of course, this particular L'Oréal babe, this beauty storm trooper in a white bikini, hasn't actually got any figure faults at all. They don't have before and after in L'Oréal ads, just perfect.

She's taking it in hand. Her body. She's got a programme, a regime. She's probably got a Powerpointed schedule on her laptop too. She's in charge of every centimetre of cellulite. Except, of course, this particular L'Oréal babe, this beauty storm trooper in a white bikini, hasn't actually got any figure faults at all. They don't have before and after in L'Oréal ads, just perfect.

The product's called Nutrilift. It's a kind of moisturiser glop that firms things up as it goes. And the longer it's used, the firmer things get. It's got Firming Effect – 71 per cent of it, they say on-screen. But it's double-action, so it does something else, and it's got 87 per cent of that. It's dead scientific. It nourishes and it firms, and the trans-Europe Express voiceover lady says it feels so good too. That's an obvious baby-do-it-one-more-time kind of line, but I can't begin to tell you how unsexy it actually sounds. It's like doing a full Brazilian bikini wax to improve your aerodynamics. Where do they get these people?

It's all shot and styled in an unsexy way too. Sharp angles, quick cuts, a big red "cut here" marker-pen arrow up one perfect thigh, all mean you can't exactly wallow in that body, the Kylie-class bottom, any of it.

In the 1980s, hair and cosmet- ics ads took on a lot of science. They had computer animation showing new micro-ingredients getting to hair roots. But they were still set in cheesy narratives with hair arcs and boyfriend snaring.

Now all that science is empowered. L'Oréal is the Church of Our Lady and the sisters are doing it to themselves. They're doing it because it's there, because they want to climb every mountain, because only your best is good enough, because life's one long management conference presentation and you need firm thighs to drive a BMW 7 series – anything but sex and insecurity.

When this particular girl – the accented Euro-English voiceover makes you think she just might be a computer animation too – marches out of a tube of Deco green into a white world in a positively Prussian way, she reminds me of Claudia Schiffer, the Hunny Bunny invoking against split ends as she walks through a tunnel of flame. For L'Oréal.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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