The team behind grime artist Nadia Rose’s collaboration with Rimmel London reveal how they balanced beats and beauty for latest campaign
With Rimmel decidedly departing from old slogan ‘Get the London Look’ to embrace the inclusive and energetic ‘Live the London Look’, their latest campaign taps into the heart of London – its grime scene. Working with Finger Music, BETC London have partnered Rimmel with up-and-coming London grime artist, Nadia Rose.
LBB sits down with BETC London’s art director Gareth Rice, account manager Karolina Alas and Finger Music’s sync supervisor Chris Phelps to find out how the whole thing came together and what social influencers mean for Rimmel and the ad industry going forward.
LBB> What was the client brief for this project and why did you decide to use an upcoming artist to lead the campaign?
Karolina Alas> Product innovation was at the core but as with our other Rimmel campaigns we wanted to champion individuality and diversity – which we feel are representative of London as a city. With our latest work, we took a bit of a step back to really think about what London is, and find a way to communicate it by collaborating with British talent.
Gareth Rice> That’s a good point. It was super important for us to champion real talent that is based in London. We also wanted this to be entertaining as well as commercially driven – in this case working with a musician. They become a zeitgeist of what we think is relevant and interesting.
Chris Phelps> In my original brief, and in the treatments, beauty with a bit of attitude was a key theme on top of the intrinsic London feel. It was important for me to consider how talent would work with the existing brand ambassadors. When deciding how the music could represent London, grime seemed like a natural choice. The grime scene has been growing massively within the city but also becoming a benchmark style internationally. It’s the tipping point of the trend right now. Combining those elements and the right sort of energy in the artist was exactly what we were looking for – beauty and attitude.
LBB> Why did you feel Nadia was the right artist for Rimmel?
CP> For me, it was about figuring out, with the creative direction, what different levels will appeal to the broader idea. Initially I presented a few different options of artists to Rimmel. As we collectively listened to more and delved into a few of the stats of the specific artists, their schedules and timings and so on, we narrowed it down to look specifically for a female urban artist. There were a few artists on the table that could have worked but I think Nadia was at the right point in terms of her release and what she was up to.
LBB> Had Nadia done any promos before?
CP> She’s a relatively new artist in terms of releases. She came to my attention through a video she shot herself that did very well. It was an interesting idea. That really put her on the map. Also she was a new signing, so she was just at that perfect level of having a following but not being over-exposed, not to mention she had the perfect balance of energy, style and attitude to match.
LBB> So how did Nadia’s music fit into the product itself – the Volume Shake mascara?
KA> The Volume Shake Mascara has a first-to-market patented shaker system that refreshes the formula whenever it’s needed. The liquid never dries out or gets clumpy. The guys had a really interesting idea to bring that to life, with hand tutting. It’s a type of dance built up through hand movements that fits really well with the product. The music, beat, and pace worked with the product at the core and it was seamless.
GR> Intrinsically, with the hand tutting there’s a key BPM that you need to have the music on – if it’s too quick, it doesn’t work, too slow and it’s boring. In the USA, they tend to use dubstep for hand tutting but in the UK grime works very well with the timing of routines and that’s partially why we went down that route. Beyond that, Nadia Rose is cool. She’s got a rad look. She genuinely felt like the best fit.
LBB> ‘Get the London look’ has always been a strong brand message from Rimmel – how has this developed into ‘Live the London look?’
KA> We found that ‘live’ is more collaborative than the transactional ‘get’ and we wanted to move the brand into a more open space. It feels like a small change but actually means a lot more to the audience. When you think about it, everyone in London is so diverse and colourful. There isn’t just one London look. It’s whatever and whoever you want it to be. We felt that ‘live’ would allow for that more because it’s open to interpretation from everybody. It’s cool for people to experiment and try different looks, different things.
GR> Experimentation has always seemed to be integral to the London ethos.
KA> Exactly. One day, you could be super preppy and another day, super edgy. That’s what’s fun. And London doesn’t judge. It’s not about perfection. We’re not only voicing it but demonstrating it in action by celebrating British artists, especially female British artists.
LBB> How prominent are social influencers as a part of your strategy for Rimmel?
KA> For our launch film, we worked with influencers, particularly a lot of London-based influencers, and asked them to tell us what London is to them, how they define ‘beauty’. For us, influencers can create dialogue and conversation amongst our audience at grassroots, whereas an ambassador would deliver a more broad message. It’s conversational but it gets the message out there so that’s equally important for us. What’s great for young people is that an influencer can be anyone and there’s so much diversity there that it gives a young person so much choice as to who they want to follow and look up to. Because there is so much diversity they can find someone they can really relate to and trust. It’s opened up the gates to so many people.
GR> It has helped making communications become more inclusive. Instead of speaking to the consumers, a lot of brands now speak with them..
LBB> Do you feel that some social influencers can have a bigger impact on sales than that of a traditional celebrity or brand ambassador?
GR> Both are beneficial. As Karolina says, social influencers, and in this case an upcoming artist, certainly hit the consumer in a different way to brand ambassadors - which is a good and interesting thing. It brings the brand closer to home and makes it accessible for some people. You can actually get tickets to go and see Nadia Rose at a show, but you can’t just pop in to see Cara Delevingne. I think there’s something that feels more tactile and more engaging by combining the two. It’s mutually beneficial.
LBB> You’ve spoken before about brands and artists reaching a mutually beneficial point, why do you think it’s the right time for brands and artists to be collaborating?
CP> From a musical perspective, social media has provided a platform for artists to exist and emerge out of nowhere. Some artists can gain traction purely through a consensus between a particular group or town - and that exposure can spread quickly. Interesting cultural pockets create a much more diverse and interesting environment from which somethings can arise. Finger tutting is a good example – not a lot of people know about it but if the right person is good at it on Instagram, suddenly you’ll see it everywhere. It’s a really amazing time for how things are being brought to market.
LBB> Nadia’s track is called ‘Skwod’, is there a story behind her dance troupe?
GR> There was a casting process with the director, Emil. He selected a core crew of skilled finger tutters and those who could work well with the product and their hands. One girl was a magician so she was doing sleight of hand which was really cool, another was a finger tutting champion. Emil’s great. When the ball starts rolling he takes it and sprints and the whole crew follows him. The dancers really clicked together from the start and there was so much energy and buzz on set.
KA> A lot of the dancing happened on the day, organically, because everyone was really engaged.
CP> I think Emil did a really good job. In a particular scene they were shooting with the dancers, they all had to be really still. He’d point at the dancers to just start expressing themselves so it was almost like interpretive dance. They really rose to the occasion, bouncing off each other.
Fashion & Beauty
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