Screenshot from the Hada Labo website (Source)
The campaign celebrates 5 years of Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion (which I've reviewed before), and in line with that, the brand was looking for 5 real users of the product who had used the lotion for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years respectively, and also 5 different types of people (e.g. corporate types, active types, creative types, and so on). I was approached because the brand actually found me through my instagram profile because I uploaded some photos of their products, and had tagged the brand. Since this was a campaign featuring real users, I was not paid for my participation in the campaign, and my part in it was not scripted either.
Behind the scenes: With makeup artist Danny Kong at the photoshoot (Disclaimer: This particular photo has a filter from my iPhone because it was on the wrong filter setting when I took it, but all other photos in this post are not filtered!)
I was approached to be the 2-year user, and the corporate warrior/office worker type, which I am in real life. But because I was also uncomfortable with talking too much about my job in real life, we also discussed focusing on my personality as a fairly analytical person, with my blog as an example of that analytical ability extended to evaluating products and skincare. I do mention my field in brief in the video, but it's not the focus of the video. So I was very happy that I wasn't shoved a script in my face and told to recite it, and that they were able to take into consideration my concerns and desire for (some) privacy.
After that, I was brought on to do the photoshoot and videoshoot for the campaign. And I took some behind-the-scenes photos, which I thought I'd share with you guys. They're all taken with my iPhone, and I didn't take that many, because I didn't want to interrupt the work that was going on, or get in anyone's way, so for the most part, I waited until there was some downtime, then quickly took a shot or two on my iPhone. But, I think I took enough photos to give you a sense of the entire process!
The actual execution took two separate half day sessions. One half day was for the photoshoot, where we shot the still photos of me wearing the white top. The second session was for the videoshoot, where we shot the video scenes. For the voiceover/interview bits, those were also taken during the videoshoot.
Behind the scenes: The setup for the photoshoot
For the photoshoot, because I'm obviously not a professional model or anything, I was pretty clueless as to how to stand or act in front of the camera. Fortunately, the photographer gave me directions for posing: how to stand, and what angle to face, and where too look. I had a lot of trouble with my eyes, and in virtually every single shot they were closed or really small or squinting. This is partly because I do have small eyes, but also because they were using flash as part of the setup, and I was blinking involuntary everytime the flash went off. It was so hard to keep your eyes open when bright lights are going off!
Behind the scenes: A photo from the photoshoot
Above and below are photos of some of the photos taken from the shoot, right off the camera (so no photoshopping in these photos). Danny Kong (Dannymagichand on IG) was the hair and makeup artist, and he really did a great job. When I showed these photos to my family, they thought that there was some editing done to the photos, but it was just good old fashioned hair and makeup.
Behind the scenes: Another shot from the photoshoot
And below, Danny's workstation, with all those droolworthy products! I didn't take down the names of the products that were used on me (like I said, I didn't want to interrupt the professionals at their work), but I did notice the blush that was applied on me was MAC Dainty. I think I will have to go and get that blush now!
Behind the scenes: Danny's really droolworthy makeup stash that he brought on the shoot
For the video shoot, the half-day session was spent filming the various scenes shown in the video - there are scenes of me applying the lotion to my face, which was quite funny because there were like 3 or 4 people crammed into a bathroom (including myself) during the filming. There was also some issues with reflections and light bouncing from the walls, which were slightly reflective, and the camera also had to be set at an angle so that it would not be visible in the reflection in the mirror, and so on. It really opened my eyes as to how much work goes into filming a few seconds of footage. No wonder movies take so long to make!
Behind the scenes: The team reviewing the bathroom scenes
Above, that's the team reviewing the footage to make sure that it's acceptable before going on to the next shot. And below, a screenshot from the video itself (in case anyone wants to know exactly which part of the footage this corresponds to). You can see the bottle of Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion reflected in the mirror, but not the camera, although it's there, because it's behind me at an angle. Pretty cool, right?
A screenshot of the actual scene in the bathroom
The next set of scenes was inside the cafe, working on my laptop and taking notes and things like that. This was shot at Cake Avenue Cafe, which, as the name suggests, is a cafe. It has a pretty laid back atmosphere and vibe.
Behind the scenes: This is my view from where I'm sitting
Above, is my view from the shoot. You can see the laptop in front of the chair that I'm sitting at. The camera is actually set up further away, so it wasn't all in my face. Below is the corresponding part of the video that features this setting.
The corresponding shot in the video, where I'm sitting at a cafe table
There's also a scene where I take a photo of a cool-looking cake. Which, I might add, is totally in character, because my Instagram page, despite being a beauty page, is always invaded by food - I'm constantly snacking and sometimes, I'll be eating (or about to eat) something, when the idea for a flatlay strikes me. And sadly (or happily, depending on your point of view), it usually ends up being not-that-healthy food, like cookies, chocolates, cake, snack packs, sweets, and local fare like tangyuen and egg tarts. So although it wasn't deliberately planned or anything, it was quite apt.
A screenshot of the video, showing me taking a photo of a pretty cake
Above is the actual shot in the video that I'm referring to. Below, is what it looked like to me during shooting. The cake is pretty. (I don't think it's edible, though.) You can also see the cameras in the background, too.
Behind the scenes: What it looked like from my angle
Also a little random factoid: the blog shown in the screenshot below is indeed my blog, and that post in particular is my Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion review from 2013! They didn't ask me to show this particular review for the video or anything like that, but they were just shooting various scenes of me working on the blog, and I thought it would be appropriate to pull up the Arbutin Lotion review, since I used it and review it a long time ago. (Also, my latest empties post also features the same product.)
Screenshot from the video: A little glimpse of my blog
Lastly, there were the interview scenes. I didn't take any photos of this portion, as we were wrapping up the shoot. The format was that they would ask me questions, and I would be filmed answering those questions, and those answers were what they used for the video in the end.
The answers to the questions were all unscripted - I didn't memorize any of the answers beforehand or anything like that. I did have a rough idea of what they wanted me to touch on before shooting. For example, I knew that they wanted to focus on the analytical side of my personality and talk about the ingredients in the products and so on, but the exact questions I was asked, and my corresponding responses, were all done on the day itself. So other than a few lines that were catchphrases they wanted to use in the campaign (e.g. the taglines "all that glitters is not gold", "naturally rational choice"), everything was unscripted and just me responding to the questions on the spot.
Sometimes they would ask me to talk about a specific topic, e.g. tell me what kind of questions you get from your blog readers, tell me why you use the product, but nothing was scripted, and nothing I said was prepared beforehand. Obviously, the final video is a pastiche of the various scenes I filmed and things I said, but I think it was a fair representation of my own views and what I said as a whole.
Behind the scenes: Danny the makeup artist doing some touch ups for makeup
My final thoughts on taking part in the campaign are that I was generally very happy take part in it. In particular, I really appreciated that I was able to take part in a campaign in a non-sellout or non-shilling kind of way, and that I was able to speak honestly on my experiences with the product, rather than relying on a memorized script or anything like that. I also really appreciated being able to talk about the product in a way that was in line with my own personality and inclinations. I guess that the fact I wasn't paid for my part in this campaign meant that I was able to be more involved in terms of what I said. So I really appreciate that the campaign is, for me anyway, more authentic and different from the usual "pay a model to front the brand" type of spokespersons we often see.
If you haven't seen it yet, I'll just end off with the video from the campaign (for those unfamiliar with it, yes that is indeed English I'm speaking, I just have a Singaporean accent!).