Nivea Sun

Ultraviolet is the state of the art for the whole skin sector: charities, beauty companies, oncologists. Ultraviolet cameras can see through the stratum corneum - the layers of dead skin that form the outer surface of your skin - which, like snow, evens out underlying variations in texture and color. UV can see the living skin underneath as it actually is. And it's not computer-generated imagery, like everything up till now. That's the power of it: finally, it's not simulated or faked, though god knows there are plenty of brands trying to fake it, already.

NIVEA SUN 2015: I've basically given over my 2015 working for Nivea, the world's largest skincare brand. It's a business relationship. Of course. But I choose to work with them because I have found Nivea easily the most straightforward / least snake-oily outfit going. They don't market their skincreams as medicine, they don't pretend they're going to make you more glamorous, they don't gussie it up in issues of self-worth, and they don't engage in systematic pharmaceutical fraud. Their products are priced for families, not 'reassuringly expensive' to reinforce a sense of glamour. They speak science at basically all levels of the company, and the executives eat in the canteen with everyone else, all, 'is this seat taken?' and everything. These are extremely admirable qualities in a $20 billion company. 

Once, I found out that a subcontracted production house in a far-flung territory, in order to localize one of my films (translate & re-edit to local tastes), had exaggerated a model's subsurface skin pigmentation with CGI in order to dramatize the effect. I pointed out that the whole point of UV was that it was real, that it was not VFX, and that this was not how Nivea had become the world's most trusted skincare brand. The Nivea leadership agreed, and removed the exaggeration. There aren't many companies that will make an ad less effective in order to make it more honest. But that's part of the pleasure of working with Nivea: extremely well engineered products, honest marketing. More on the 2015 campaign here [German].




Since the original video 'How The Sun Sees You' was posted (August 2014), there have been a number of copycats, of which notable examples are:

L’Oréal Paris (Brazil)

Vaseline (Thailand)

Clarins (Malaysia)

At least L'Oreal figured out how to build and operate a UV camera, and are legitimately doing a thing. It's the exact same thing, but whatever. As far as I can tell, for reasons I outline here, whichever company Vaseline hired faked their way through their UV slot - possibly even convincing their clients at Vaseline? Which is annoying as it wastes the entire opportunity of UV - persuading billions of rightly skeptical consumers that this is one product that actually works, that they can stay years younger with the daily application of sunscreen. Or at least, it achieves a whole new level of photo-protection by jamming it where the sun don't shine[Update April 15, 2015: looks like the Thai Censorship Committee kicked that ad off the internet.]

Still, it's a classy and expensive seeming spot, unlike this hilarious stab by the Solar Bahia (Peru), which, shakes head, I don't even, what