72andSunny Amsterdam’s Gregg Clampffer explains how the idea of ASMR male body shaving videos became a reality
Lynx has come a long way since it first promised to help make already implausibly attractive young men irresistible to literally all women back in the ‘80s. As Gillette's conversation-starter of a campaign in January made clear, society is ready for a new, less damaging flavour of masculinity, for the good of all genders. And Lynx (known as Axe outside of the UK) has undoubtedly played its part in getting culture to that point.
72andSunny Amsterdam won the account back in 2015 and the brand instantly took a new tack, repositioning male hotness away from the monolithic standard set by the media towards whatever makes guys individual. The resulting ‘Find Your Magic’ campaign was a radical shift.
Every Lynx campaign since has added something else to the discourse on what masculinity means in culture today and the brand’s latest series of films, promoting 2 in 1 shower and shave gel, continue on that course. The three videos are educational as well as entertaining, using the Zeitgeisty medium of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to teach men how to shave their body hair off, should they want to maintain a “good manscape”.
As Gregg Clampffer, creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, said on the release of the films: “Guys today don’t have to be buff, or swim, or bike or have an excuse to shave themselves. They can just be regular dudes who like the comfort of being cleanly shaven on all different kinds of body parts.”
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Gregg to find out more about how the agency ended up making these unusual but kind of wonderful works of video.
LBB> Strategically, where were you picking up from in the broader brand journey Lynx / Axe is going through? And where did they want to take it next?
Gregg> Over the past year we have been doing a lot of exploration of purpose and tone with Lynx / Axe. And we think we have arrived at a point of view that: 'Masculinity doesn't need a lecture, it needs a laugh.' We are talking to teenagers. And while we can for sure be a little less 'bro culture', we still have to have lightness in our tonality. In the future we want to make work that respects the current climate and is responsible, but also does it in a way that young guys can appreciate.
LBB> What was the spark for the idea? Did it start with wanting to do ASMR or did that come in later?
Gregg> 2 in 1 Shower and Shave foam. The product was a fun starting point. We then came up with all the different and wonderful ways to demonstrate the utility of foam.
LBB> What sort of research did you put into the idea? You must have had to learn some interesting things!
Gregg> We didn't put a ton of research or testing into it. We were on a bit of a run with the same creative team last year where we had produced a few things together and gotten to know each others' sensibilities. We'd shared the weirdness of ASMR videos with one another because we found them fascinating. It seemed like a really surprising solution to the brief. Taking the microphones into the shower seemed like a logical, sensorial experience that made us laugh.
LBB> Can you describe the process of writing the script? It's funny but also there's a more serious(ish) message behind it. Was it difficult to maintain that balance?
Gregg> There weren’t many ASMR shower videos out there so we watched a lot of general ASMR videos and also shaving tutorial videos. Rachel Sato-Banks wrote some really funny stuff, that her partner Chris Baur and my CD partner Adam Koppel built on. Regarding seriousness and balance - things are different now than they were in the past. How we treat and respect each other and ourselves. Part of that is to be more permissive of ambiguity and exploration. This concept paired the sort of normal confident guy with shaving of body hair for reasons of personal pleasure. It felt like it was modelling a positive behaviour and attitude without trying too hard or being preachy.
LBB> How did you find Matthew and why was he the right choice?
Gregg> We had a great partner in the director Cloé Bailly from Caviar. Matthew Alexander Kaufman. He's on Vimeo. Check him out. He is an actor and had done some ASMR in the past. He exuded confidence. We saw other really funny talented guys, but when they were too good looking (read defined pecs and abs) they somehow felt less relatable.
LBB> What was the shoot like? It looks like it would have been quite fun! Any enduring memories?
Gregg> For the episode called ‘balls’, we had all kinds of balls on set. Tennis balls, coconuts, kiwis and most importantly prosthetic balls. In the end they where a bit too real to make it into the scene though.
We shot all episodes within a day and we had to time everything quite well. We started with the upper body shots and then realised when you shave someone, there's no more hair. Luckily enough our amazing hair and make-up artist saved all of Matthew's hair and then glued it back onto our actor’s chest. Gross. But funny to see.
And Matthew just got it. There was nearly no take that we had to do more than two times - which made room for improv. When we asked him to make a dolphin sound, he did a perfect clicking.