Sunday, 12 July 2015
Face Forward: A New Direction?
I stopped properly paying attention to the skincare market a while back. When you've got pretty unpredictable skin like mine, most beauty products start to seem like scams, too much effort, or the luxury of those with a lot of expendable income. It's frustrating, and I expect there are a lot of people like me who just switch off when they see advertisements for a moisturiser, toner, or cleanser.
That's why it's interesting that I actually noticed Clinique's Face Forward campaign. I guess that the recognisable face of Tavi Gevinson taking up a full page of Grazia Magazine did a lot of the ground work; Tavi is, to a lot of people my age, the pinnacle of a more intelligent and ambitious approach to life than we are often offered by mainstream media. I noted the bare-faced, fresh aesthetic of the subsequent two black and white headshots, and admired the approach.
I thought nothing more of it until I picked up the leaflet from the Clinique counter in Boots. Again, the same three simple headshots are the focus of the campaign, but what I found most interesting was the Q&A feature. As well as expected questions like "What is your typical beauty routine?" they ask the girls "What keeps you motivated in your career?" There is a huge focus on entrepreneurship, healthy living, confidence and the future. The other two subjects are Hannah Bronfman, who is described as a "DJ, model, fitness guru and serial entrepreneur" and Margaret Zhang, a "Creative Director, Blogger, Law Student, One-time ballerina".
Here at last is a campaign aimed at young ambitious women, whose main concerns are living fulfilling, healthy lives. The idea of marketing to the woman who doesn't want a lot of make-up hassle is not a new one. It's pretty much Simple's USP, and crops up in the advertisements for any brands with a teenage market like Freederm, Neutrogena, Witch, and Clean&Clear.
But to be seeing young women in particular as busy, outgoing, career-focused, is a fairly new thing. The anti-wrinkle product-makers have, for a long time, been aware that the women they want to start using preventative creams are the kind of women who are in their 30s, moving up in their career, and have limited time in their days. This Face Forward approach is about catching the ones in their early 20s, who are starting to envision their bright and shining futures, and are busy with internships, projects, studying and having new ideas.
I can't speak for the quality of any of the products - that would be a different blogpost. What I'm interested in is whether this will become the new way of marketing products to the young market. It's a tactic which places as much value on achievement and confidence as it does on clear skin. Of course, taking the skeptical line of thought, that means Clinique is associating their product with those desirable goals. But on the other hand, I'd rather be seeing these girls celebrated for their interests and goals alongside the fact that they have great skin rather than their appearances being presented as the only thing that matters. I'm excited to see whether a greater portion of the beauty industry takes note on this one and makes the effort to engage with this market in what I think is a new and unpatronising way.
If you'd like to read the Q&As or any more about the products themselves visit the Clinique website.
Disclaimer: I'm not being sponsored by Clinique, I'm just generally interested in their approach. Having said that if anyone from Clinique is reading this and would like to send me some samples I am totally up for that... tweet me.