Sass, in Print Splash, Sends Painted Ladies to Sea

Forget battleship gray or navy blue. Ninety-five percent of the world’s yachts are lily white. Christian von der Heyde, however, wants to change all that.
Von der Heyde is president of St. Louis-based U.S. Paint Corp., which supplies the aerospace, automotive and marine industries. His company tapped Sass Communications to create a campaign to turn the world’s mega-yachts and motorboats into Peter Max fantasies.
Painting a luxury yacht can cost $100,000 to $500,000. And upscale ship owners have been known to swap paint jobs when the mood moves them.
Creative director George Sass found himself trying to make a splash in an industry, where, he said, “the competition still believed in slapping a paint can on an ad.”
Von der Heyde wanted “aggressive . . . a European aesthetic.” In short, beautiful women, maybe naked.
Sass hired fashion photographer Fadil Berisha and Los Angeles’ Joanne Gair, the woman who body painted a pregnant Demi Moore for the front cover of Vanity Fair.
The results are startling. In the print work, luminous bands of face paint and checkerboard body hues adorn a pair of models, whose images are superimposed on the visuals of two ocean-going yachts. The caption: “There’s an art to painting a beautiful lady.”
“Boats are always ladies,” said Sass. “We figured we’d open some boat owners’ eyes.”
In the three years the Annapolis, Md., shop has handled all ad and public relations duties on the $1 million account, “sales have improve nicely,” von der Heyde said.
The print campaign will break in Yachting, Power & Motor Yacht and other national and international boating magazines over the next few months. K