Sonzero Delivers “Flawless” Results for Macy’s
Directs 6-spot national “Beauty Scene” campaign conceived by Free Media.
LOS ANGELES—Top fashion and beauty director Jim Sonzero of Sonzero Films has directed a gorgeous, new campaign for Macy’s and Free Media promoting the retail giant’s national Beauty Scene event running now through October 1st. The six-spot package features some of the world’s most beautiful models in an elegantly stylized treatment promoting such prestigious brands as Clinque, Prevage-Elizabeth Arden, Clarins, Dior, Lancome and Origins. Sonzero used groundbreaking lighting techniques and engaging, upbeat performances to excite women about a variety of new beauty and skin care products.
Each of the spots presents world-class models and beauty products against a white, limbo background, a concept designed to highlight the girls’ colorful features and flawless skin. The scenarios are further enlivened by a buoyant music track and vibrant graphic treatments. Sonzero worked closely with Free Media creative director Vivien Vitolo and executive producer Joan Babchak in designing the visuals. Additionally, he and director of photography Jim Fealy developed a unique lighting strategy to make the models’ faces pop. “We used a mini parabolic umbrella and negative fill to create a solid, three-dimensional look,” Sonzero explains. “It worked—the footage looks clean and modern.”
“I wanted to raise the bar on shooting flawless skin,” Sonzero adds. “I’ve worked with Amy Oresman, our brilliant make-up artist, on Neutrogena many times. Combining her talent and Jim Fealy's lighting was a dream. They both delivered. The girls were insanely gorgeous—that helped.”
The performances are natural and energetic, avoiding the staid clichés of beauty advertising. “I wanted to move past the ‘entranced model,’” Sonzero notes. “The camera was dynamic, always moving. The tone on set was fun! fun! fun! The girls’ spontaneous performances breathed life into the shots with an upbeat optimism.”
Sonzero shot the commercials on 35mm film with an Arri 435 camera. The director prefers to shoot beauty on film as it continues to produce results superior to digital capture, while lowering post-production costs.
Sonzero took particular care in casting, selecting a group of models who were multiethnic, approachable and, of course, beautiful. Commenting on the task of directing some of the world’s most beautiful women, Sonzero jokes, “My life sucks!”
Campaign: “Beauty Scene”
Agency: Free Media, New York. Vivien Vitolo, creative director; Joan Babchak, owner/executive producer.
Production: Sonzero Films, Los Angeles. Jim Sonzero, director; Jim Fealy, director of photography; Joan Babchak, producer.