Barbara Lippert’s Critique – Fire and Ice

With this new ad featuring Halle Berry and the new 007 Color Collection, Revlon ascends to the ultimate in cosmetic cross-platfo-tainment. There’s so much packed into one gleaming 30-second spot that it’s hard to know where to start: Aside from the potent shots of upward-thrusting lipsticks and nail polish bottles, there’s Halle in a gorgeous gown doing the Sex and the City walk and offering the “Be unforgettable” talk, mixed with clips of her secret-agent, bodysuited self as Jinx in Die Another Day, the up coming Pierce Brosnan-as-James-Bond movie. In the film, Jinx drives a Ford Thunderbird, and at the end of the spot there’s a “win a Ford Thunderbird” contest announcement.

Even with the contest giveaway, it somehow avoids seeming cheesy or like a sped-up parody in which the announcer wedges 10 pages of boilerplate into three seconds. It’s just artfully done.

The opening, particularly, has elements of the clever pre-title sequences for which Bond movies are famous. The entire piece, unfolding out of the swirly gun-barrel graphic, is beautifully edited to the beat of the classic Bond theme. The tie-in gives the brand the same kind of unapologetic, high-voltage glamour and sophistication that Rev lon used to have in the days when the merch was better known for Fire & Ice than for being discounted at RiteAid.

But first to Halle Berry, whose name always sounded like a lipstick color to me, anyway. She’s actually one in a long line of Revlon models who were also “Bond girls” (among them Lois Chiles, who played Holly Goodhead in Moonraker in ’79, Kim Basinger, aka Domino Petachi in Never Say Never Again in ’83, and Grace Jones, May Day in A View to Kill in 1985). But here’s the difference with this “360-degree brand experience” (a phrase Revlon keeps repeating to connote the big mascara’d mama of global integrated marketing deals)—Berry already wears the palette of 007 Collection colors in the movie, and now you can, too! More important, the Oscar winner has a stronger role than the typical Bond girl (although the Bond oeuvre includes Den ise Rich ards as Christmas Jones, a brilliant nuclear physicist in hot pants) and in the Revlon spot, she says, “I still think it should be Berry, Halle Berry.”

And, indeed, when Bond was having his image crisis in the mid-’90s (in 1995’s GoldenEye, Dame Judi Dench in the role of M calls him a “sexist misogynist dinosaur”), and his early Hefner-era sexual bravado and lame double entendres seemed really dated, I thought the only way to bring the character of Bond into the modern world would be to make him a fabulous woman of color. Berry’s character is the next best thing. (And according to Revlon, almost half of all Bond moviegoers are female.)

So the tie-in manages to update the tired images of both Bond and Revlon. Certainly, the lesson here is that Berry can carry it alone—no need to have her as part of a View-like group. Reportedly, after she won her Oscar and that emotional speech, she later added that Rev lon should now pay her more. To borrow from another beauty ad, she’s worth it.

At a time when there are all sorts of threats to security, and average citizens are actually in the grip of terrorism, it will be interesting to see how the Bond formula performs. For Revlon, the 007 Color Collection commercial might not be the ticket to total world domination, but I’m sure the company would settle for maximum cross-promotional satisfaction. That’s cosme-tainment.

Client: Revlon

Agency: Deutsch, New York

Director: Kathy Delaney

Group Creative Director: Karen Ellis

Senior Copywriter: Steven Brinlee

Senior Art Director: Robert Fontanelli

Agency Executive Producer: Guy Williams

Director: David Cameron, The Artists Company, Los Angeles