Talk of inclusion in beauty has rightfully reached a fever pitch. Brands like Rihanna’s Fenty have proven that if you make a wide range of shades, people will buy them. Instagram has made beauty a lot more democratic, giving a diverse range of faces exposure they probably never would have received otherwise. Then there are brands like Dove, which tries to use diverse models but often flubs it terribly. The images we see in retail and beauty ads still have a long way to go.
Sephora (whose parent company LVMH also owns Kendo, the incubator that, incidentally, developed Fenty) has been improving its store imagery over the last few years to be more inclusive, changing its tagline from “The Beauty Authority” to “Let’s Beauty Together.” Its last several campaigns have featured models of different ethnicities, skin tones, and ages, but the campaign the retailer is releasing on November 2nd may be its most diverse yet. Rather than hiring professional models, it reached into its own pool of 11,000 North American store employees.
“We’ve been having the conversation about unique perspectives in beauty and celebrating diversity in our marketing for a number of years,” says Deborah Yeh, the senior vice president of marketing and brand at Sephora.“But this is our first opportunity to really show it in such a demonstrative way, by elevating real people from the real Sephora beauty community.”
The theme of the campaign is “Reach Out and Gift,” which is the result of some internal research Sephora did. Two things emerged: First, people said that beauty is a great gift, but challenging to give because it’s so personal. The retailer presumably hopes that casting a campaign with a wide variety of non-models will give people ideas about what to buy for the unique people in their own lives. And the “reaching out” part comes from an acknowledgment that our current political environment causes some familial drama.
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Author: Cheryl Wischhover