Burt's Bees keeps it real—very real—in a pair of web videos by ad shop Baldwin&.
The campaign, "Love Your Nature," touts a new line of all-natural by moisturizing lipsticks, focusing on two extraordinary young women who overcame serious challenges and learned to accept themselves and make the most of the lives.
First, we meet Diandra Forrest, whose albinism initially made her an outcast.
"Growing up in the Bronx, I was the lightest thing on the block. I stood out. I just wasn't black enough," she says at the start of the film. "I didn't really have friends. I didn't feel secure at all." When she finally embraced being "different," she found success as a fashion model—and with this campaign, role model status may follow.
"As a beauty brand founded by a bearded beekeeper, Burt's Bees has always done things a little differently, and this campaign is one way to encourage a spirit of authenticity and expand the definition of beauty," agency account supervisor Katharine Belloir tells Adweek. "The target audience is women 18-34. This is the age where women are coming into their own as adults, a time when an example of self-acceptance can inspire and resonate on a personal level."
Next comes the story of singer and musician Mandy Harvey.
"In life, you have a lot of barriers, and you have two choices," she says. "You can allow yourself to stay stuck and do nothing, or you can find a way around and experience life." Harvey refuses to let her songs or spirit be silenced, even when her hearing starts to fail.
"We went into it with an idea of the story we wanted to tell, the visuals that we thought would best support that and a plan to capture the voiceovers of the women telling us their stories in a natural way," says Belloir. "But we really had to roll with what happened once we were there. Some of the best scenes were not planned. We did not plan to use footage of Mandy singing her own song 'Try' until we were on location shooting."
Some might say the work overreaches, or feels overly familiar, and accuse Burt's of being just another brand leveraging female empowerment to move product. But the stories are exceptionally well told in a restrained, understated style by directors Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol, making them feel less contrived and more uplifting than, say, Dove's recent forays into "Real Beauty." Watching Diandra and Mandy take charge of their own destinies and refuse to be pigeonholed makes Burt's message especially stirring.
Also, the brand stays very much in the background, which is entirely appropriate. After all, Burt's role in these (and all) women's lives is to provide a boost now and then, but ultimately it's up to each individual to let her inner beauty shine through.
"We are surrounded by images of who we are supposed to be, and constantly told we are not enough," Harvey tells Adweek. "My hope is that someone is encouraged by these ads to find beauty in who they are just the way they are and feel excited to celebrate their uniqueness."
Client: Burt's Bees
CDs: David Baldwin, Bob Ranew
ACD/AD: Kellyn McGarity
CW: Britton Upchurch
Agency Producer: Lisa Effress
Production Co.: RDI, Santa Monica, Calif.
Directors: Anna & Ewan
D.P.: Ewan McGregor
Exec Producer: Marjie Abrahams
Post: Union Editorial, New York
Executive Producer: Caryn Maclean
Producer: Lauren Hafner Addison
Editors: Marco Perez ("Mandy"), Andrew Doga ("Diandra")
Assistant Editor: George Dodsworth
Telecine Artist: Stephen Picano
Flame Artists: Brian Kubovcik, Jason Ortenberg
Music/Sound Design: JSM, New York
CCO: Joel Simon
Producer: Jeff Fiorello
VO Recording: Coupe Studios, Boulder, Colo.
Engineers: Kip Kuepper, Ed Kaufman
Producers: Eric Singer, Aaron Lasko
Sound Mix: Sonic Union, New York
Engineer: Rob McIver