Peter York on Ads: Oh no, the director's been at the vintage horror videos

Boots Soltan cream

If you get around a bit, you can usually see where TV directors get their ideas from. The Matrix alone has probably underwritten 20 major campaigns. But do they look at Victorian pictures for composition? The new commercial for Boots Soltan has that storm-lashed, sex-crazed look of those popular potboilers involving rocks, caves and witchy women.

If you get around a bit, you can usually see where TV directors get their ideas from. The Matrix alone has probably underwritten 20 major campaigns. But do they look at Victorian pictures for composition? The new commercial for Boots Soltan has that storm-lashed, sex-crazed look of those popular potboilers involving rocks, caves and witchy women.

There they are, five lovely girls - and two lovely boys - in swimwear, silhouetted against some big grey rocks, the gateway to sea and sky beyond. It's not the happy open beach. And it's not happy open music either. Its important Doorsy music.

Despite the doominess they do a fair bit of frolicking and lying around. The boys show off their Chelsea six-packs (skinnier than the Essex version) the girls gather for a group shot. One couple get close. Another couple are in the grey water looking out of their depth.

And then the girls start whispering, horror-film style. Maybe they're going to morph. This all-purpose menace is about a totally modern pre-occupation, sun-damage. The girls are saying that if you could see the long term damage UVA does to your skin you'd use Soltan - Boots' suncream - because it's the only five star UVA protection. Modern people still want to be brown absolutely all over, but they don't want to be Leathers by 40 (Leathers was the 1980s word for the group of global white trash, rich people who'd burnt themselves into caramel crocodiles on the smartest beaches in the 1950s and 1960s).

Heat magazine has a kindly little corner for celebrity health complaints called The Clinic. Recently, it was worried for poor Elle MacPherson who, it said, was suffering "hyper pigmentation" - coffee coloured skin patches - from too much sun and not enough protection. Pale gingery Aussies from Scots and Irish stock fry themselves into skin cancer by the thousands every year.

Anyway, the girls are muttering away when it happens - a photoflash of light and they're all a mass of brown marks (of course the director's been watching vintage horror films, the ones where the she-devil ages and turns to dust in seconds). The final shot with its second-degree-burns victim looks really alarming by skincare ad standards.

Conventional wisdom used to be that the scary approach didn't work because it associated the brand with negatives. But conventional wisdom's helpless against a director's Big Idea.

Peter@sru.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future