E45 taps Brit boxing icon Nicola Adams for ‘Straight Up’ brand refresh

World’s first female Olympic boxing champion, who turned pro earlier this year, stars in new campaign by Havas

Leading British skin care brand E45 has unveiled a significant brand repositioning campaign and new strapline: Straight Up Skincare. It is a marked shift away from previous communications — which had focused on the brand’s 60 years’ experience — and the historical perception of the Reckitt Benckiser-owned brand as a remedy for extreme cases of dry skin only, instead positioning it as a straightforward, uncomplicated, everyday product and championing its relevance in the modern world.

To launch the campaign, E45 has partnered with British boxing icon, double Olympic Champion and E45-user, Nicola Adams OBE — a woman who proudly shares the same fuss-free, uncomplicated ethos of the brand.

The campaign has been strategically and creatively led by Havas London, and launches with a talent-led PR campaign by sister Havas company Cake and a Knucklehead-directed TV spot — an authentic, up-close-and-personal glimpse into Adams’ everyday life and routines, narrated by the boxer herself. It will be supported through press, OOH, point-of-sale, digital and social activity, as well as having a notable presence on the London Underground.

Launching today, the PR campaign stems from research conducted by E45 and commissioned by Cake — which shows that 81% of UK women feel ‘completely confused and bombarded’ on a daily basis by conflicting health and wellbeing messages, and a desire for things to be less complex. After launching these findings direct to media, Nicola will host a ‘Straight Up’ panel event in Central London on 18 September. Featuring two special guests, it will encourage women to be fuss-free and share their own experiences — positioning E45 as antidote to unnecessary complication.

Finn McGough, who directs the TVC, is a documentary director whose work has been awarded for both television and advertising. He brilliantly captures the essence and story of his subjects with beautiful cinematography to make compelling and emotive films — and his latest work is no exception. Intimately shot to capture the human side of the boxing icon, it is narrated by Adams herself and ends with the lines ‘No fuss. No fads. Just straight up skincare’.

“We’re very proud to have more than 60 years’ heritage as one of the best-known and most-loved skin care brands in the UK. However, we know many of our consumers are only using E45 when they have a problem with their skin, and not as part of their everyday skincare routine. It’s this misconception that we’re setting out to challenge with the new campaign. Today, E45 is a high quality but straightforward brand with a mission of providing consumers with products that give their dry skin exactly what it needs to feel good. Nicola — an existing E45 user who boasts many of characteristics of this new brand direction herself — is the perfect person to help us bring that to life.” — Kate Sweeney, Category Marketing Manager at Reckitt Benckiser
“Nicola Adams [OBE] is one of Great Britain’s modern sporting icons. She is the first British boxer to successfully defend their Olympic title for more than 90 years, and the reigning Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Champion. She’s also exceedingly humble, down-to-earth, relatable and straight talking. And she uses E45. Finding your ideal brand partner is one thing, executing the campaign is another. Our HKX teams across Havas London and Cake have pulled it off superbly.” — Elliot Harris, Creative Director for RB at Havas


Project name: Straight Up Skincare

Client (RB):

Category Marketing Manager: Kate Sweeney

Senior Brand Manager: Lindsay Forbes

Havas Group companies involved: Havas London, Cake

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 for RB: Louise Bonnar

Agency producer: Joseph Ogunmokun

Print executive producer: Maggie Roberts

Film production:

Production company: Knucklehead

Producer: Peter Knowles

Director: Finn McGough

Production manager: Lucy Chambers

Production designer: Nathan Parker

DoP: Chris Sabogal

Costume designers: Lucy Hagan, Tom O’Dell

Editor: Mark Burnett @ The Whitehouse

Assistant Editor: Amber Saunders @ The Whitehouse

Colourist: Matt Turner @ Absolute Post

Post-production producer: Belinda Grew @ Absolute Post

Online lead: Zee Stoitchkov @ Absolute Post

Online assistants: Elliot Platt & Jack Kennedy @ Absolute Post

Narrator: Nicola Adams OBE

Audio post-production: Nick Angell @ Angell Sound

Soundtrack composer: Ashley Bates @ Adelphoi Music

Print production:

Executive producer: Maggie Roberts

Photographer: Diane Sagner

Retouching: Dipping Sauce

Design: Elizabeth Bukonova

Media agency: Zenith Optimedia

Hero casting: Talent Republic

Exposure: TV, PR, press, OOH, PoS, digital, social