JESSICA ANTOLA ON TEAMING UP WITH GOOP AND MOTHER LA FOR A BUZZY MOTHER'S DAY STUNT
What would truly make Mother’s Day special? Eliminating the luxury sales tax on diapers. That’s right: More than half the states in America—33, to be precise—tax diapers like they’re a luxury, raising their cost between 1.5% and 7% and thus affecting their affordability for 1 in 3 moms.
So this year, as part of their annual pro-bono initiative to honor their namesake and bring awareness to issues involving mothers, ad agency Mother LA decided to do something about. And they partnered with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and photographer Jessica Antola to make it happen.
Hoping to spark controversy, stir conversation, and inspire action, the agency came up with the idea of launching a faux luxury diaper: specifically, “The Diapér.” Designed and presented in a “luxury authenticity-Goop world,” explains Jessica, it would be a sustainable wool-lined, gemstone-fastened, jasmine & bergamot-scented disposable diaper. And to enrich the narrative, it was priced at a luxurious $120 for a pack of 12.
Jessica photographed The Diapér as if it were a coveted find from a hip fashion brand, portraying it as the center of an elegant still life. (More on that in a bit.) And Goop started building buzz, first with a high-profile CBS Sunday Morning segment on May 8 featuring Paltrow, centering Goop in the Mother’s Day conversation without mentioning the “product launch.”
Then, on May 11, Goop dropped The Diapér. And the buzz became a roar. As online commentators debated the merits of The Diapér, Goop revealed that it had been a stunt designed to debate the merits of the diaper tax.
“We priced our fictional Diapérs at $120, because that is what the diaper tax could cost families annually,” notes Goop, which is encouraging advocates to take action by donating to organizations like National Diaper Bank Network and Baby2Baby.
Of course, in order for the stunt to work, the product and photograph had to look completely convincing. That’s where Jessica and her team came in.
“To make The Diapér feel elevated, I created a set that channeled a Dutch Master’s still life painting and felt like a work of art,” she explains. “The set needed to be natural, ethereal, botanical, expensive, and otherworldly to showcase this unique luxury item and appeal to the Goop customer.”
The shoot took place at Noho Studios in New York City, with Jake Hakanson producing. Despite a tight budget and deadline, prop stylist Miako Katoh came through like a star, fabricating the diaper and styling the set. Jessica and her assistant Geoff Leung crafted lighting that felt, she says, “slightly moody and enchanting, as well as created a sense of mystery that showed the singularity of this unique diaper and highlighted its amber snaps and wool details. We used special filters and played around with a smoke machine to add to the enchanted-garden vibe.”
Add Jessica, “I had never worked with Mother but have been wanting to collaborate. I had also never worked with Goop, but I’ve bought great products from them over the years and believe in the brand. I think it’s great that Goop not only has a sense of humor, but wanted to help bring light to this issue.”