creative impulse

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The Independent Online
Seeking to question the superficiality of most beauty advertising, BST-BDDP have launched a new TV commercial for Vidal Sassoon Hair Appliances designed to challenge conventional thinking on femininity. The film features a group of women relaxing in a spa, with a voice-over by an elderly lady posing a series of questions such as "Should women fight in wars?", "Should your baby take your name?" and "Should supermodels be role models?" It ends with the slogan "Being beautiful is about how you are as well as how you look", and is being supported by posters at selected railway and London Underground stations.

The client: Vidal Sassoon Hair Appliances

Kevin James, managing director, Helen of Troy UK

Advertising for electrical personal care products is generally very similar; you could run any one of these ads and put any brand name on the bottom of it. We therefore wanted an ad that would stand out from the crowd, and also one that we could use for two or three years. Next year, we will use the same film, dropping a new product shot into the last 30 seconds.

We've always been very strong on saying things about beauty. We know that many women say that if their hair looks nice, they feel more confident, so we wanted to talk about inner beauty as well as cosmetic beauty. We are appealing to the woman in the street - the general public know that they're not going to look like models just by using a particular product, and we are encouraging people to feel good about their inner selves as well as their outer appearance.

The agency: BST-BDDP

Paul Bainsfair, chairman

The brief was to advertise Vidal Sassoon hairdryers in the run-up to Christmas, when the bulk of hairdryer sales are made. We were struck by the similarity of hair appliance and hair treatment ads - they all go for girls with bouncy hair looking into the camera.

We felt we had the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and wanted to talk about the fact that beauty comes from wisdom and experience - a knowingness about life generally. We got the Hungarian synchronised swimming team and filmed them in the spa baths of the Gellert Hotel in Budapest.

The campaign combines the beauty of youth with the wisdom of age in a thought-provoking way. We took the beauty of the swimmers - not a "hair being lovingly coiffed" kind of beauty - and contrasted it with the voice- over of an elderly lady. That lady is Anita Wallfisch, a founder member of the English National Orchestra and a survivor of Auschwitz; she is somebody that we felt had great experience in every sense.