Monday, February 11, 2008

Their Hair Tells Their Spiritual Story


I love this set of ads for shampoo. I love it because not only does the ad campaign feature Marilyn Monroe and Madonna ...with the bridge of history being Shakira rather than less glamorous sexbombs, but the ads brilliantly capture the spiritual and magical powers women experience with their hair. (Britney shaving her hair off might have been empowering symbol like Sinead...but under her circumstances sign of breakdown/nilhism) The still ads and the tv commercial are surprisingly simple narratively...but they say a lot about the big picture of women and hair. Inside each icons hairstyle are smaller pictures of the women in a variety of goddess poses and in Madonna's case, most successful...a different hairstyle. Marilyn and Shakira have different hair styles too...but seem to be from the same era...whereas Madonna's style spans two decades. Sadly, Marilyn didn't live long enough for us to follow how her hair would have reflected her transformations to middle-aged or elderly goddess. Each of these women looked at themselves as art as well as their work in music and performance. They are their own experiments and their own work in progress.

What is more spiritual or inspiring than knowing we are not written in stone?

I am very impressed that a regular well priced mainstream shampoo came up with this simple but powerful set of images. I would have expected some elite salon or boutique company to have produced such a marriage between anthropological observational narrative and pop culture. Aw...as always...powerful truths are best intuitively perceived by the public and reflected in the mainstream. No wonder art galleries are so fucking out-of-touch with what people love. Perhaps major art galleries should fire all curators and hire a company like DeGrippe Gobe instead, ha!

Sunsilk shampoo went into production in 1954 in the U.K. The company produced a fake "homemade" video called The Bride Has Massive Wig Out starring a Canadian actress Jodi Behan (she cusses like a Canadian!) that became viral on YouTube.

Grant McCracken, anthropologist and author of Big Hair:A Journey Into The Transformation of Self says hairstyles represent a great deal more than protective covering for the cranium; they are designed and engineered like buildings. More significantly, for women they are the very vocabulary of self-invention, the outward manifestation of an inner metamorphosis.

I am surprised to see that Grant McCracken hasn't written about this ad campaign on his blog! Surely a DeGrippes Gobe designer must have read his book?

Created by DeGrippes Gobe in Paris, the “Life Can’t Wait” Campaign was born from the global insight that hair, more than any other physical attribute, plays a crucial role in a girl’s power of transformation and self-expression. Research conducted in six countries with 3,000 women revealed the universal truth that twenty-something women find having “good” hair can be a trigger for seizing opportunities. from Fashion Blog

Art Forum Review of Big Hair.
Life Can't Wait Sunsilk commercial website.
DeGrippes Gobe Emotional brand making.
DeGrippes Gobe website
Malaysian Sunsilk Commercial... fascinating: no hair shown in ad.
Pakistan Sunsilk ad
Thailand Sunsilk ad Metaphysical!
Gender inscribed to product design? (cool blog in general!)
Wikipedia and Sunsilk

4 comments:

mister anchovy said...

Har! They should do a male version of that ad with rock 'n roll guitar pickers....

tweetey30 said...

I hate my head actually. I have dry scalp and it was getting better until it got cold again and I am always playing with new shampoo's to take the itch away.

Gardenia said...

I like what McCracken said about using fashion to express power and transformation - to make hair our own expression. Very interesting post.

I always like to change hair often - now it is white, pink, and deep purple and dark brown. I like to "push the edge" with hair. It's hard to find someone who is brilliant with scissors/razor.

Sassoon was brilliant - made it right to have the scissors/razor do the creating rather than the bending and heating and "ratting" He was responsible for bringing motion back to hair.

I love that Ad, boy do I wish I were the one who designed it!

Candy Minx said...

Mister Anchovy...yes a male version would be very interesting. I've always thought it was strange that all around the world for thousands of years...both men and women have adorned themselves like birds and flowers with make up and art work...yet in contemporary culture of industrial nations...men don't wear art work...and some feminists don't wear art work either! I am very excited about the recent decades of androgynous male rock stars with beautiful hair and jewelry who have returned to wearing art work on themselves! Yippeee!

Tweetey...you know what? You need to eat more pure oils...like flax seed oil. And drink two quarts of water minimum a day...that is why your skin is dry love! I hope you don't own margerine...very dangerous!

Gardenia, your hair is magnificent! Yes, Sassoon features in McCracken's book...he really did understand that the hair cut should do all the work! I was quite taken with this design company...wouldn't you like to have created this ad all right...so simple and it is every where right now we saw a huge billboard of it last night! I might read the book about their "emotional branding".