Quickly coming out just as we reach the end of the creative year is Kim Gehrig’s newest advert, Viva La Vulva for Libresse. And, in true Kim style, it’s arguably one of the most joyful, inclusive and confidence-boosting pieces of advertising of 2018.
Kim, a director who was the first woman to direct a John Lewis Christmas advert and made waves with her work for the This Girl Can campaign, as well as on adverts for Ikea, Lurpak, Cadbury and Amnesty International, has a knack for utilising advertising as not just a tool to promote a product, but to empower an audience. Viva La Vulva may just be the aptest example of her directional style, creating a lip-sync video in celebration of the vulva, singing along to Camille Yarbrough’s Take Yo’ Praise.
“The original script the guys sent me was a celebration of the vulva and had a wonderful eclectic visual approach,” Kim tells It’s Nice That of the initial brief from feminine hygiene product, Libresse. “But they were also interested in music… So I just brought the two things together and made the vulva sing. I thought it was a funny take on a ‘lip-sync’ music video… the ‘other lips’ singing this time… and it went from there. ‘Vagina Lip Sync’ was the phrase I used to describe the idea and everything flowed from that.”
Using a number of visual techniques – from animation by Anna Ginsburg, puppets by Terra Nova Productions, gingerbread sculptures by Emily Garland, pottery design by Emma Low and paper designs by Annemarieke Kloosterhof – Kim’s use of creative styles represents how each and every vulva and vagina is different from the next and, as one of the women who star in the video states at the end: “There’s no wrong answer down there. Whatever you’re born with, embrace it.”
For Kim, the decision to use multiple props and styles of filming was a no-brainer, wanting the film “to be inclusive and bringing together many styles and techniques felt like a natural way to do that,” she says. “I also wanted to maintain visual interest throughout a full three-minute video, and keep surprising.”
Now the film is finished, and each and every ode to the vulva is threaded together carefully – from costume designs to an oyster – Kim’s hopes for audiences watching the advert is: “Simply I would love women to be proud of their whole bodies and for society to see the vulva as less of a taboo and as another beautiful part of the female form.”
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