Ad of the Day: Dermablend

A concealing makeup's impossible mission: covering up Zombie Boy's tattoos

Next time you need to hide your face tattoo, consider Dermablend Pro.

The L'Oréal-owned cosmetics brand hired Rick Genest, perhaps the world's most recognizable full-body canvas, to star in its new spot from Montreal agency Agence Tuxedo—to prove just how well its makeup can conceal anything.

Better known as Zombie Boy, the undead-obsessed model has covered the majority of his person with tattoos meticulously designed to make him look like a walking, decomposing corpse. He's landed roles in Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" video and a campaign for fashion brand Mugler, raising the public profile of his persona. But the Dermablend spot opens with Genest looking less maggot-infested—just another boring, brooding white guy with some metal in his face. Staring into the camera while trying fiercely to look defiant, he strips off his shirt and proceeds to engage in a stilted, ritualistic cleansing. First, he scrubs a layer of cover-up off his sternum. Then he rubs his face with a towel. With the help of a little video editing, his more familiar grinning-skull visage emerges from behind the cloth, and the ad launches into a reverse-time lapse, revealing a gaggle of artists painting Zombie Boy normal.

It's solid, if somewhat strange, viral stunt that's drawn attention to a brand that at its core isn't all that exciting. But Genest and the visual effect largely eclipse the brand message, which is itself a bit vague. "How do you judge a book?" asks the copy. "Go beyond the cover." Ah, the inner-beauty aphorism. That seems a bit self-defeating for a product whose existence depends on vanity.

Client: Dermablend
Agency: Agence Tuxedo, Montreal
Talent: Zombie Boy (aka, Rico Genest)

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.