--For advertising creators, the New Year's advertisement is the one for which they feel most feel the need to make that special effort. I learned that this year's New Year's advertisement turned out to be a visual exclusive for the brand "MAQuillAGE," rather than a corporate advertisement for Shiseido. Could you please give us the background behind this decision?
Ueki: There was a competition in which each brand proposed its own advertisement plan. The challenge was to produce a 'one sheet' that would have a significant PR effect for the individual brand and that would also be glamorous as well as appropriate for the New Year's season The theme of the corporate advertisement for the previous year was "diversity in beauty," and it was intended to send the message to viewers that they are wonderful just as they are. However, this year the advertisement was going to be a message directly from the brand, so we felt that we wanted to take the chance to declare "This is beauty!" The theme that we proposed was "yearning and impulse." I was very pleased when I heard that we had been selected.
--From there, what sort of visuals did you begin to develop?
Nishimoto: MAQuillAGE is a makeup brand that pursues the joy of being a woman and the beauty within all women. The first thing we decided upon in the plan was that Jun Hasegawa and Kiko Mizuhara, the muses who embody the brand, would co-star in the advertisement. At the time, I felt that during the shooting I wanted to capture as much of the natural appearance of the models as possible in order to convey the message of MAQuillAGE, namely that we want women to enjoy the strength of wearing makeup "of one's own volition," and to freely enjoy being women without worrying about what other people see.
--What kind of dialogue did you have with the photographer?
Nishimoto: For this advertisement, we had a female British photographer named Emma Tempest. We chose to shoot in an open space with a natural breeze, rather than setting up a fully-built studio space. Ms. Hasegawa is the mother of two children, but at the same time always embodies a "modern" beauty, while Ms. Mizuhara breaks the mold with her free-spirited allure. We asked Emma to shoot a different kind of image of each of these two models, one that showed a vision of "the woman they wanted to represent." Furthermore, Ms. Mizuhara and Ms. Hasegawa have known each other for a long time. Apparently they reunited at this shooting for the first time in a long time, so they looked happy from the moment they met. The shooting began while they were still in such a happy mood, and I think that as a result, or perhaps due to the female photographer, their femininity, or rather a healthy eroticism, was successfully captured. Middle-aged men might get a little excited when opening their newspapers on New Year's Day (laughs).
Ueki: When I showed the resulting photos to the people around me, some of them commented that, "They seem to be enjoying their own sexuality, rather than trying to seduce men." I think that this advertisement showed the strength at the core of a woman, like, "I will open up the world," rather than waiting to be accepted by the world.
--What were you thinking when you wrote the phrase "Lets you hear the heartbeat of a woman" in the advertising copy?
Ueki: Since I picked the body copy first, the catch copy was written with the purpose of leading the audience to the body text. With the copy, I wanted to highlight the overwhelming beauty of the visual and to evoke the impulse "I want wear makeup!" However, I did not reach that goal smoothly, and writing the copy was really tough. Counting from August when the competition began, I would say that in the end I wrote 1,000 copies. It was also quite a difficult process to decide on the selection of the visuals.
--Which part involved the most difficulty?
Ueki: As it was the first attempt by a single brand, rather than Shiseido, to produce a New Year's advertisement, I think the most difficult part was that we struggled to determine the objective and the positioning of our message. Additionally, I personally found myself always fighting between the feeling that, as a member of a team, "I am fine taking the supporting role, as long as the entire project is going well," and my own ego as an individual saying that "I want to challenge the status quo with my own copy."
--This body copy is very nice - "When I excite myself, then I will excite that person as well. Even I will make the world shine, and then, and then--transform myself into a lady."
Ueki: I included what I most wanted to express most here. If you first change yourself, then how "that person (other people)" feels may also change. Even with only one lipstick, if you put thought into it, you can change your surroundings and maybe even make the world shine. In order to convey the image of an endlessly-expanding positive power, I did not put a period after "and then, and then."
--Which part did you feel to be the most typical of a New Year's advertisement?
Ueki: For this project I pored over New Year's advertisements produced over the past few years, including those from other industries. My impression was that all the companies seemed to be playing a high-stakes game due to the special timing of the New Year, which of course happens only once a year. As we were also having a tough time with the project, when looking at those advertisements I could not help imagining how much hard work and suffering had gone into creating the finished product (laughs). I felt that those advertisements often had copies that attempted to convey "good ideas" in a careful and meticulous manner. I then decided that I would go in the opposite direction. I thought that I would like to produce a strong image that would not be like a "model student," but would instead be something that left an unforgettable impression on people's hearts, using the minimum amount of words possible. Advertisements are originally intended to be embedded in everyday life. However, the New Year's Day newspaper is special in that it feels like an exhibition for advertisements. I would be glad if as many people as possible thought, "Yes, let's do makeup!" after they saw the advertisement.