Havas London for E45: Nicola

On the market for more than half a century, E45 is making a noticeable shift from its traditional messaging, which has mainly focused on the possible medical benefits of its products. But new research, commissioned by Havas agency Cake, shows that women today want more—81% of women said that they feel “completely confused and bombarded” by the deluge of health and wellness messages.

In a new campaign from Havas London, entitled “Straight Up Skincare,” E45 is aiming to tap into the modern, cultural needs of women in the UK: simple application and effective results.

The skincare company’s latest ads feature Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, who narrates the piece from the point of view of a modern woman. Creative Director Elliot Harris explains how Adams and Havas London enabled the brand to pivot from its conventional ads.

What was the insight that led to this particular idea for the campaign?

In the UK, every bathroom contains a tube of E45. It’s been trusted for generations. The packaging, the language, the actual cream itself, there’s no bullshit or pretense. It does exactly what it needs to do without fuss or fanfare. And with the campaign idea being, “Straight Up Skincare,” we soon realized that the best way to deliver this message was in the most “straight-up” way that we possibly could.

Who is the target audience?

Busy women who are fed up with constantly being told about complicated skincare regimens and the latest miracle for their skin.

How does this campaign impact the lives of women?

Hopefully, they will agree that skincare regimes can be utterly excessive. Nobody needs more complication in their lives.

How is this spot different from other skincare advertisements?

There is authenticity and honesty in our work that I don’t see in other beauty spots. The tone of voice naturally leads to a documentary style, instead of the glossy, retouched world of most creams and cosmetics.

Straight Up Skincare 2

Why Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams?

On the second page of her biography, she talks about how she had really bad eczema as a child. On the fourth page, she talks about how she doesn’t use any fancy, expensive creams. After reading that, and seeing how beautiful her skin is, it was a no-brainer. Then, of course, she is a two-time Olympic boxing champion and an incredible inspiration to women. She is a national treasure.

Can you tell us how this spot fits into the greater marketing campaign for E45?

This first spot kicks off a complete repositioning for E45, going from a medical product for treating skin conditions to a daily feel-good moisturizer. It’s been a long journey with a great client who is determined to move the brand forward into a new space.

TV spots will be supported by outdoor, online, and social. A PR campaign, led by Nicola herself, highlights the benefits of ‘keeping things uncomplicated everyday’ with events and in-store promotions and appearances.

It is the start of a very exciting journey for the brand and, hopefully, this is just the beginning of the brand’s relationship with Nicola.

Any challenges while making this particular ad or campaign?

She’s a 35-year-old female boxer. It could have been a tough sell. Fortunately, she has incredible skin, so people could see beyond her profession and see what an inspiration she is. Considering Nicola’s schedule, the campaign went very smoothly.

What do you hope the audience takes away after watching this spot?

Hopefully, women will feel inspired to take a leaf out of Nicola’s skincare regime and keep things uncomplicated. And obviously put a bottle in their basket. I also hope they see a young British woman, a strong positive role model, pursuing her dreams on her own terms. As a father of five daughters, I feel that can only be a good thing.


Campaign: Straight Up Skincare

Havas Group: Havas London, Cake

Reckitt Benckiser:

Category Marketing Manager: Kate Sweeney

Senior Brand Manager: Lindsay Forbes


ECD: Ben Mooge

Creative Director: Elliot Harris

Creatives: Joe Williams, Dave Mygind

Business Director: Ainhoa Wadsworth

Account Director: Matt Ramage

Account Manager: Sophie Amodio

Head of Strategy for RB: Chantelle Begley

Planning Director: Bianca Petroff

Production Lead, RB: Louise Bonnar

Agency Producer: Joseph Ogunmokun

Print Executive Producer: Maggie Roberts