It's the Same Old Idea, but Aging Makeup Makes It Look Like New

New Lincoln Financial Spot Beats Out $100 Million 'Good Shepherd' Production

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Watched "The Good Shepherd" the other night. Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie. About the early days of the CIA. The most remarkable thing about the movie, apart from how spectacularly it was miscast, was the makeup.
Marketer: Lincoln Financial Group
Agency: 22Squared, Atlanta

The aging-effects makeup in the new TV spot from Atlanta's 22Squared for Lincoln Financial Group are so much better than those used on Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in the $100 million movie 'The Good Shepherd?' | ALSO: Comment on this review in the 'Your Opinion' box below.
The characters of baby-faced Damon and human Bratz doll Jolie were depicted as their 1940 selves and as their 1961 selves. As if. The aging was about as convincing as baby-powder gray hair on a 13-year-old playing Henry Higgins in a middle-school production of "My Fair Lady." They were trying to make Angelina Jolie look matronly. Instead: the ultra-MILF.

How is it that we can put a man on the moon, e-mail video clips and fold up our home gyms for easy storage but can't shoot a $110 million movie with convincing makeup?

And here's a quick follow-up question: How come director Robert DeNiro can't do it but the Lincoln Financial Group can?

In a TV campaign from 22Squared, Atlanta, Lincoln shows future retirees as young adults face to face with their enlarged-prostate futures. The idea is nothing special, but its realization is superb. The most convincing spot takes place in a maternity-ward nursery, where a young dad looks at his newborn daughter. Suddenly, from behind him, the voice of another onlooker: "She's even more beautiful now."

It's an older guy, a bit weathered and turkey-necked, with a graying moustache, but the resemblance to the new father is striking.

"Are you ... me?" the younger man asks. (How calm and collected of him. We'd have said, "Yahhhhhhh! Get me out of heeeeeeeere!")

"Quite a while from now," replies the old him.

"So ... how did I do?"

"You did great. But don't forget about us. Even in retirement, we still need financial advice. We have to protect and grow our money. You never know what's around the corner ... Grandpa."

The young guy absorbs the point. The little pink bundle in the basinet will grow and have sex and bear him a grandchild, which is a challenging concept when your kid hasn't even had her first feeding. But then the phantom disappears and the voice-over comes on.

"Get to know your future self with Lincoln Financial Group."

OK. Got it. Prepare for the future. It is not an alien concept in the financial-services category. In fact, it's something close to boilerplate in the financial-services category. But this is a pretty vivid way of communicating it -- provided the aging effect doesn't look cheesy, and that's a pretty big "if." But 22Squared went to Hollywood's Stan Winston Studios, which performed astonishingly well.

In another spot, a guy in an airplane sits down next to himself. The older visitor, thanks to latex prosthetics, is not only grayer but jowly, ever so slightly bloated with age. Then, in a third spot, there's the reverse. It takes place in a hospital ER, where a middle-age woman nervously awaits news on her sick husband. She is joined there by her 20-years-older self -- only instead of making a 50-year-old actress look 70, it appears they used the plumping effect to make an older actress look younger. Clever and convincing. Amazing, in fact. You get so absorbed in the effect as a viewer that you don't even pay attention to whether the husband croaks.

All in all, this is an exceptionally rare example of production value elevating mediocrity. The makeup does for the Lincoln campaign exactly what it does in the hospital spot: It makes a tired old idea look young again.
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