WaterWipes enlists food director and Normal People DOP for ode to baby skin

The film pushes against unblemished and unrealistic images often seen in babycare advertising.

WaterWipes is giving an honest portrayal of babies’ skin in an ad challenging unrealistic and airbrushed images in the babycare category.

Created by The Brooklyn Brothers, this is the baby-wipes brand’s first-ever TV spot and follows 2019’s “#ThisIsParenthood” campaign, which took a candid look at parenting through a documentary about real families around the world.

While babies’ skin is usually pictured as unblemished in advertising, WaterWipes shows common conditions such as cradle cap and nappy rash. With close-up shots and intimate details, the film “embraces skin in all its glory,” Cali Oliver, creative director at The Brooklyn Brothers, said. 

The ad captures everyday moments between parents and their babies and features a diverse range of real families, including a same-sex couple, a baby with Down’s syndrome, a single mother and twins. The soundtrack is gospel song This Little Light of Mine

It was directed by Jason Lowe, a food director and photographer who is known for his visceral, sensorial style. Lowe said he took a similar approach to his food work to capture “the reality” of baby skin, with which parents often have a strong emotional connection.

“I come from roast chicken and sausages and street food. The inspiration is the same: to get to know each farmer or fisherman or shepherd’s intimate relationship with their craft, and to draw out the truth, and the joy and beauty in that truth. That’s what I set out to do here,” he said.

Lowe shot the ad with director of photography Suzie Lavelle, who recently filmed the BBC TV adaptation of Normal People. For that series, Lavelle worked with an intimacy coordinator to depict a romantic and sexual relationship between two young adults. Lowe said he wanted a similar intimate feel in the WaterWipes ad. 

“I was inspired by the way that series got you thinking about memories, not in a nostalgic way but in a compelling, thoughtful, provoking way through deep, innocent and complicated intimacy. It didn’t make it overtly sexy but it was deeply sensual,” he said. 

WaterWipes is an Irish brand that was founded by Edward McCloskey after his newborn daughter suffered from nappy rash.

Since “#ThisIsParenthood”, WaterWipes has been on a mission to “inspire self-belief in parents through honesty,” Will Sansom, head of strategy at The Brooklyn Brothers, said. 

“We believed there was a damaging and unrealistic myth of perfect parenting perpetuated in babycare. That lack of honesty in the category is making them feel like they’re not good enough or they’re failing,” he said. “We wanted to celebrate baby’s skin in all its forms, colours and conditions – normalising real baby’s skin and inspiring self-belief in parents.”

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