it isn't often that a makeup ad succeeds in being literally transformative and not just superficially so. But that's the reason for the viral success of this Japanese ad for cosmetics brand Shiseido, which launched few month ago and has already enjoyed millions of views.
The spot, titled "High School Girl?" and created by Watts of Tokyo, opens with a professor opening the door to her classroom. As a soft female vocalist begins to sing over a loungy beat, we pan slowly across the faces of the girls in the room, who seem ordinary enough: One holds a guitar, another drinks from a bottle of water. At the end of the room, a last girl gives us a knowing look and gazes back down at her book.
Check out the spot, directed by Shō Yanagisawa, here (spoilers below).
Watch Complete Video High School Girl? メーク女子高生のヒミツ （The Secret of High School Girls）
[youtube height=”500″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n3Db6pMQ-8[/youtube]
THE POWER OF MAKEUP TRANSFORMS THESE GUYS INTO UNBELIEVABLY GORGEOUS GIRLS
Everything looks idyllic in this classroom of pretty school girls, but wait until around a minute in, and you can watch them transform back into a group of (still quite pretty) boys. Making this ad for the Japanese makeup giant Shiseido required the models to sit as still as they could for hours, while makeup artists buzzed around them. If you’re curious about how the video was made, check out the behind-the-scenes view.
Oh, and make sure you stick around for a final surprise at the end of the clip.
[youtube height=”500″ width=”800″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM_uPPvXUXs[/youtube]
One User Brittany Nunley Commented On Adweek.com:
In such a delicate and simple way, this ad really dives into a lot of sensitive topics. There is beauty, sexuality, social dynamics, cultural assumptions, where do you even begin? But more than that, it forces you to think about the way that society responds to information. In this culture, having the power to effectively persuade others through advertising and digital media are something people aspire to, yet we all fall victim to that passiveness. In fact, more often than not, the thought process stops after getting the information. It’s as if each thing “is what it is” because someone said it’s so. As children, we question everything, but that is somehow lost as we grow older. I love that this ad throws that in your face with such socially relevant issues.
Beyond that, it plays on human tendencies to need to categorize and label things to make sense of them. This isn’t always a bad thing. Imagine science without the organization of classifications; It would be chaos! This same thought process doesn’t necessarily need to be applied to everything in life, although society also shouldn’t be condemned for trying to make sense of things with such labels. It’s the negative implications associated with “opposing” categories (such as a masculine male wearing makeup and nail polish) that should be dismantled.
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