Learn the Twist in an Intimissimi Bra Ad, Starring Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker, an Intimissimi brand ambassador since 2018, stars in the Italian lingerie brand's latest series of spots under the banner #BraTwist.
Credit due for choosing so risqué a name; twists of any kind aren't something one wants to think about in association with underwear. But the work has several merits—star factor, box-check diversity, and the relentless pep of Edoardo Vianello's "Guarda Come Dondolo" ("Watch as I Swing"), which will forever remind us of this scene in Master of None.
Here's the hero spot:
In the cases of both "Bra Twist" and Master of None, there's an irresistible appeal to seeing an American engage with the charms of another culture, for better or worse. Indeed, 72andSunny Amsterdam, which conceived this creative wonder, describes Parker as "[injecting] some of her trademark New York sass" into something otherwise all about Italian affordances: the music, the wavy hair over peach-plump décolleté, and that flippant (yet unfailingly aesthetic!) dolce vita attitude.
Parker is also described as a "dance conductor who turns the ritual of putting on a bra into a craze"—the Intimissimi "bra twist," if you failed to catch it. Parker points in silk pyjamas as each step is executed, "strap, hook, fit, twist"—instructions that, while vague (what exactly am I supposed to do with my hook? Isn't it already hooked?), are positioned as an "entertaining solution to the daily challenge of getting your bra to fit comfortably."
"We wanted to make a campaign that felt modern, fun and fresh while simultaneously trying to own the universal feeling of putting on the perfect bra," explains 72andSunny Amsterdam's creative director Benny Everitt—himself unlikely to be a bra user, but we've been wrong before.
Below are iterations of "Bra Twist," cut to promote specific products. This one's for Intimissimi's new cotton triangle bra:
And here's the lace triangle bra:
And the Vera bra:
Lastly, there's the Super Push-Up:
Tired of that song yet? Or, like us, are you imagining Alessandra Mastronardi tirelessly guiding Aziz Ansari through the motions of an Italian twist, her movements fluid to his curmudgeonly gestures and compulsion to correct her English?
No, but seriously. The work feels repetitive all together, only because we're not supposed to see it this way; it'll do fine in its natural habitat, hyper-targeted social and programmatic advertising, maybe some interactive OOH because that's the world we live in now. To every woman the bra she deserves.
Apart from that, though, "Bra Twist" does a few things we've become uncomfortable with. It replaces body type diversity with the ethnic kind. (Haven't we already established this is partly what's killing Victoria's Secret?) And in the iterations, even that diversity vanishes to little more than gesture: Out of four ads, a sultry black woman gets one.
The Asian's disappeared except for the group wiggles; the other three spots are devoted to the classical variations of white-lady gorgeosity: your sporty blonde, your come-hither brunette, your minxy redhead, each tummy tight as the last, even if the filling in their cups naturally varies.
Don't get me wrong. This is perfectly charming work, and it's gotta suck being a lingerie brand these days, especially when your positioning is all about a certain elegance that's sliding out of fashion in favor of frank realism.
I mean, calling charming choreography a solution to bra discomfort is a tough argument to stand by when you watch the masochistic struggles of women in Berlei's "Womankind": We tape, we tear, we hold our breath, we pinch. (Sometimes we also twist, but mostly to wiggle into something that seems especially disinclined to accommodate us.)
We're not saying everyone should bliss out Divine Feminine-style, like Nike. But our expectations for diversity have changed. After decades of watching people blandly check the boxes—black, white, brown, yellow—we want more. Wider arrays of bodies, hair, ways of being.
Lingerie is in many ways the front line of this struggle; it's the first thing we put on and the last thing we take off. Our broader panorama for diversity should include new ways of feeling sexy.
Because you can still appeal to the inner seductress without reducing us to precisely the stereotypes that don't make us feel that way at all. It would require a different way of studying "sexy": What actually does make women feel sexy, at home or at work? When do you feel the most desirable; what are you wearing, and how does the light fall on you? What parts of your body are valleys of delight, the bits you take care to frame for the wandering eye or wandering touch?
And frankly, who in hell is wearing silk pyjamas, never mind with bras?
Or you can avoid asking any questions and do as we've always done—punt a perky foreign soundtrack and a sassy New Yorker, call the job a wrap.
OK. We release the soap box.
"Bra Twist" comes with an augmented reality experience you can access by typing intimissimi.com/bratwist into your mobile or tablet browser (it sadly didn't work for us at all).
The work—which includes a 3-D avatar of SJP, natch—was developed by Spark Lab and powered by 8th Wall. In it, women can choose from a selection of 40 bras and five avatars. Each can perform the "Bra Twist" dance in an endless loop, sometimes with Parker's avatar, a meaningful encounter you can share on social networks.
"We developed the AR experience to let customers have a dancing SJP in their pocket who could inform them about the products and drive them to the online store," Everitt explains.
Thanks for that, dude. Now, excuse me while I struggle to bra twist into my underpants of choice, percolating with memories of women who somehow make this look frothy and fun.
Creative agency: 72andSunny Amsterdam
Director: Leonn Ward
Developer: Spark Lab
Sound Design: Stainless Sound Amsterdam
Post Production: Glassworks Amsterdam