Monday, September 5, 2011


What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Or so Shakespeare claimed. But of course, in this day and age, the name is everything, especially when we're talking about branding. So when Shu Uemura threw loads of cash at elusive Chinese arthouse director Wong Kar-wai to put his name to a range of makeup, as well as put together a "short film" for the campaign, it seemed to be big news. A colleague and I attended the launch last week along with a bevy of regional media, and as we waited with bated breath for the film to debut, the brand regaled us with in-depth previews of the products, welcome speeches, makeup demos, etc and etc and etc. And then the "short film" was played. You'll notice I keep putting "short film" in quotation marks, because arguably, it's 20-odd seconds of Taiwanese actress Sandrine Pinna twirling and batting her eyelashes, spliced with images of glitter being splashed about liberally. Twenty seconds is not a short film.

But as FAIL as the video is, there's still one saving grace: the products. The holiday collection features vibrant tones inspired by the jewelled contradictions in the phrases "drowning in fire" and "burning in water" -- or if we're going to get really practical, they're bright colours, laced with glittery finishes. I haven't tried the Festive Rouge mini nail duo yet, or the Burning in Water palette, but the Rouge Unlimited lipstick in Rouge Luster is awesome, a light red tinged with pink that isn't too matte, and is flecked lightly with glitter, but not enough so to make it tacky or unwearable for daytime. So the lesson learned is, sometimes, the game is all about the name. But maybe relying on a great product is just as good a strategy. The video debuts next month on the Shu Uemura site, but you can check out a preview below, along with the products.

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