creative impulse

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The Independent Online
St Luke's has come up with a brave pounds 3m TV campaign for Boots No 7 cosmetics that refrains from showing either the product or its wearers. Instead, each execution dramatises a different mood by use of colour, with a voice-over supplying a woman's thoughts as she applies her make- up. In Red she is feeling impulsive, the screen filling with vivid red images to the beat of samba music, while in Gold she is relaxed and dreamy. Black reflects a desire to be "spiky" and dangerous, Blue a need to be businesslike. Pink expresses her delicate, feminine side, and Orange her resolve as she ends a relationship. Each commercial ends with the line: "Be extraordinary, not ordinary".

The client: Boots the Chemist

Ian Hunter, group product manager

We started planning a repositioning of the Boots No 7 brand about three years ago, because it had been around a long time and had stagnated. No 7 is Boots' flagship brand; changing people's perception of No 7 is also a way of changing people's perception of Boots.

In 1995 we relaunched the brand through St Luke's - an agency who we thought would break new ground for us - with a commercial which featured a very self-confident and assertive young women. But that's now been widely copied, and so we went back to St Luke's needing something really mould- breaking.

To my knowledge, there have been no cosmetic ads which have not featured a model or actress telling you how wonderful the product is. This time we've gone for colours, not people, and are relating those colours to women's thoughts. These ads show an understanding of what women thinking about when applying make-up.

The agency: St. Luke's

Naresh Ramchandani, joint creative director

We're an agency that likes to look at the taboos of the advertising sector we're dealing in. The taboo here is that you can't do beauty ads without showing beautiful people; we wanted to see if we could break that.

By hearing a woman's thoughts, without seeing the woman, everyone can get into the advertising. Women feel the woman talking could be them, whereas if they see someone like Kate Moss they don't feel that connection. It's a more interesting way of looking at the product. The films feature the same woman's voice, but the idea here is that a woman has many different moods, and that she can use make-up to suit her mood.

This campaign also uses TV in a completely different way. People now demand quite complex images, but these commercials actually disengage you, and are more absorbing, we think, as a result. It's fantastically simple: it passes your eye, almost, and goes straight into your imaginationn