Tattoos play a key role in personal expression and original body art can go a long way in telling an individual's story - especially the ones in a new campaign for LYNX INK shower gel through 72andSunny Amsterdam.
Comprising three spots that see inked animals come to life on the arms of their owners to tell amusing tales of attraction, the work was created to show how the product can help keep tats in good shape. Below, Adam Koppel, creative director on the job, digs deeper into the concept.
What was the brief?
To launch a new aftercare body wash product for LYNX that helps keep tattoos bright with every wash. It also directly called for the work to be funny. No pressure, right?
How did the initial conversations go?
We had a pretty solid direction from the start. The insight was that tattoos are an expression of your personality or how you feel about a particular time in your life. LYNX is a brand that’s all about attraction and we wondered what a tattoo might say about that. Inspired by Creature Comforts, we decided to let the tattoos do the talking.
Tell us about the concept?
The concept is simple and that’s a good thing. As the brand is about attraction, we need to reflect that. But this is a tattoo product, we also wanted the focus to be on the tattoo. Keeping the integrity of the tattoo to help show the product benefit felt important. Years ago, Conan O’Brien had a bit on one of his TV shows where they just replaced celebrities’ mouths which was dumb and lo-fi but also perfect and this also inspired us.
Our approach was one of controlled improvisation. Our script ideas and springboard thoughts were based on the guys’ real lives and their actual tattoos. For the owl, the guy had a story about a crazy date on his birthday and we thought it would be funny if the owl was afraid of heights.
This led us to the date skydiving, the owl being afraid but she being worth it. After that the director used interviews to let them improvise around these topics. That gave us unscripted jokes, natural pauses and real beats. We had dozens of options when we were done. It was a leap of faith for the client because we had no real approved scripts, but I think that approach makes it a lot better.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was casting. That said, we got a lucky strike. We needed a good tattoo - one that was clean, crisp and bright. We needed a guy that looked the part of our target with the right voice. It would have been easy to swap in a comedian but instead we took the real tattoos and voices of the cast. And it worked.
Finding the right amount of animation was also hard. You want it simple so it’s still a tattoo and not a cartoon on the person’s arm. But you need personality and expression, too. It was a matter of going too far and then not far enough, then going back and forth between the two.
What’s the main message of the campaign and why is it important?
LYNX Tattoo body wash keeps your tattoo bright. This might sound pretty unsubtle but given the context it’s what really matters. Tattoos are personal and forever. This product keeps them looking good. So that’s cool. Creatively, we talked a lot about stuff - like FedEx or High Life work, and Gerry Graff. Work like that is 100% in tune with our brief as it says the message in the funniest way. There’s no hiding from it and I think that’s important for something like this that has real value to our guys.
Why does it resonate with consumers?
The authenticity of the voices and performances is what they will remember. It’s not super-slick or rehearsed. There are pauses and gaps and heavy accents. But this means it feels like a person you’d get a pint with, though of course it’s a tattoo.
What’s the most interesting thing about the campaign?
Our self-restraint. We could’ve made the tattoo move much more by animating it like crazy, but we really wanted it to simply be a tattoo that just talks. That simplicity is what adds to the humour and helps it stand out. It’s not a shouty ad it’s just simple. And funny, I hope.
How long did it take to make?
It took a little longer than most jobs, but this was a pet project for us all. The art director is covered in tattoos, so this was like his dream brief and one we proactively asked for. I mean, come on: it’s LYNX and tattoos!
What do you hope it achieves for the brand now it’s out?
I want them to sell a lot! But more than that I want it to have a halo effect on the other products. Sometimes, LYNX is thought of as the body spray teenage guys over-use. I hope that being part of tattoo culture will help elevate the whole brand and give it strong cool factor.
How satisfying is it to have released the campaign?
It’s great. After you’ve finished a piece of work, it’s always weird. It takes so much longer than people think. When it is finally out, you’ve lived with it for a long time. I remember the day the client bought it being really great. It was that ‘holy shit, we get to do this?!’ moment. But seeing the response has been really nice. You’re so inwardly focused for so long you tend to forget that real people will actually see it.