​Clever Creative: Tackling Taboos

The stigma around women’s body hair is a strong one, which is why Billie’s newest ad campaign aims to start a conversation.

​Clever Creative: Tackling Taboos

Posted Monday August 13th, 2018 in Creativity + Art.

In 100 years of ad campaigns not a single one has depicted a woman shaving actual hair. You may not have noticed, but you’ve been watching ads of women smiling as they “shave” already hairless body parts. The stigma around women’s body hair is a strong one, which is why Billie’s newest ad campaign aims to start a conversation, denounce body shaming and empower women.

The campaign’s video is rich with messages going beyond “buy our razors” (they also sell a matte lotion and and sudsy body wash). Princess Nokia’s intense anthem, Tomboy, is juxtaposed with pastel toned imagery of women showing off their unshaved armpits, legs, bellies, uni-brows and toes. The song, “Tomboy” grapples with embracing parts of you that society deems masculine, while still claiming your femininity. Princess Nokia is reclaiming and reframing words like tomboy, similar to how Billie is reclaiming femininity and reframing what is considered attractive and appropriate for women.

The “hairy” women gracing the screen are not professional models. They are artists, activists, college students, and members of the queer community, with large followings on Instagram. All of the women in the ad are gorgeous, but not according to the beauty standards set forth in your typical razor commercial. It is clear that Billie strategically chose women that many other women feel connected to through their internet presence, and individuality.

After establishing this connection with the women watching, Billie invites ladies everywhere to take part in the project by “making the internet a little fuzzier.” They created a free image library of real women showing off their body hair for people to draw inspiration from. This library is growing with user uploads and posts with the hashtag #projectbodyhair. Asking women to post pictures WITH their body hair may seem like a strange tactic to sell razors, but Billie’s approach is a strategic one. Their goal is not to stop women from shaving (that would be a ridiculous objective for a company that sells razors). Instead, Billie is aiming to make women feel heard and beautiful. People want to feel that they are making their own choices, especially women, who often feel constrained by expectations of society and the media. By framing their products as an option rather than a necessity, Billie invites women to make their own choice and to spend their money with a company that provides a more accurate and inclusive representation of women and their bodies.

Billie is not just selling razors, they’re promoting femininity in whatever form women choose to embrace it, and that is far more powerful than watching a woman shave a leg that didn’t have any hair to begin with. By tackling this taboo in a way that comes across as both genuine and thoughtful, Billie has allowed people to feel heard and more accurately represented. They also have sparked discussions about the unrealistic expectations and portrayals of women’s bodies. This has resulted in massive amounts of publicity as well as positive sentiments associated with Billie’s brand. There is no doubt that many of the women who choose to shave, and those who do not, will now choose to do so with Billie’s products, razors or otherwise.


If you’re looking for some clever creative of your own, feel free to contact us, and be on the lookout for next week’s installment of Clever Creative!

Written by Isabelle Geller, during her Summer 2018 internship at GEM Advertising.


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