Clean and Clear Features Jazz Jennings in Beautiful New Campaign

Clean and Clear’s #SeeTheRealMe campaign is a fresh perspective on the typical zit shaming acne ads. Rather then pointing out blemishes, the Johnson and Johnson skin care company focuses on feel good, esteem building stories.

Among the collection of mini bios is a story from Jazz Jennings. At only 14, she is a Youtube sensation, author and LGBTQ rights activist. Jazz is also transgender and has become a role model for children and teens. jazzHer Clean & Clear ad spot has been part of a recent cultural shift of including openly transgender people in mainstream media.

The spot features Jazz explaining her initial struggle with being a transgender pre-teen, and her journey of becoming authentically her. It is a story that any teen can relate to. Jazz’s dynamic personality and captivating smile light up the spot. 

Just this year, brands have made significant progress with the inclusion of same-sex relationships in their campaigns – tiffany-gay-couple-fullsuch as Tiffany and Co. who put this real life same-sex couple as the face of their 2015 engagement ad. Hallmark has also featured a same-sex couple in their 2015 Valentine’s Day spot called “Put Your Heart to Paper”. But as far as creating campaigns positively representing transgender people, Clean and Clear is one of the first to get it right.

The ads are also flawless because they rail against traditional skin care advertising. The beauty industry appears to be making a change in the way they communicate what “beauty” is to their audience. They approach the consumer more delicately rather than telling them how their skin should look. In turn, empowering, encouraging brands create a deeper relationship with customers.

The best part about this? If media makes these changes now to promote authenticity and inclusivity, new generations a more accepting world than those before them have. It is remarkable to see brands help shape that future world.


Evaluating the Evolution of Smooth

It all started in the summer of 2013. A twerking, tweaking former teen star was climbing the charts with “We Can’t Stop”. (What a time to be alive!) And as I watched the insanely popular music video something struck me – no, not the giant bear backpacks and no, not the man eating a sandwich made of dollar bills. A simple application of lip balm in a round, red pod. miley

It was instantaneous I that wanted this. But why? It wasn’t until after a flurry of Google searching I found it these stress-ball sized spheres are 95% organic, petroleum free and full of vitamins. So how could a 2 second flash of product, applied by Hannah Montana (not someone I particularly idolize), conjure in me a need to try every colour available at the drug store? And how has this now ubiquitous brand stirred such a demand in other consumers?

The company, Evolution of Smooth or “Eos” has been around 2009. In recent years it has resurrected a love for lip balm not seen since the 90s. The company also produces hand creams, but it’s the balm that collects the big bucks. It rivals natural competitors Burt’s Bees and conventionally made products like Blistex.

Pop artists are throwing in almost as much product placement of Eos as Beats by Dre headphones. eosNow that’s saying something! Eos has over 3 million Facebook “likes” and over 800k Instagram followers. Celebs like Jennifer Lopez are gramming pics of themselves using unique Eos hashtags. jlo

The company’s wild popularity has sprung about a multitude of copycats such as this cube from recognized lip care brand Soft Lips. soft

Because of Eos’s strong social media presence, the company has invested in few traditional advertising efforts. They know their target audience (young, trendy, social media savvy) and capitalize on it. The product design is genius in it’s simplicity – modern, stylish, uncomplicated, candy coloured and collectable. It’s oversized shape doesn’t have much in the way of practicality (try putting one in your jean pocket), but neither does an oversized clutch or a pair of 5 inch heels. That doesn’t make them any less desirable. The balm itself is again simple in nature. Soft, sweet smelling and easy to apply. The little Eos “eggs” fit perfectly into this generation of chemical conscious consumers searching for product purity.

Vloggers – They’re Bigger Than Harry Potter

You may have heard of her. zoella-gifUK native Zoella Sugg recently published a book called “Girl on the Internet” which has sold more copies in it’s first week than fellow British author J.K. Rowling (you may have heard of her as well, she wrote series a few years back about wizards or something). Zoella, a 24 year old vlogger, has won the internet (take that Kim Kardashian!) with over 6.6 million subscribers on her Youtube channel. The basis of her vlog topics are typically beauty tips and shopping hauls. Zoella’s interweb fame has companies dishing out over $4,000 to her just for dropping their name or endorsing their product in one of her segments. Popular vloggers are now seen as one of the best ways to target young audiences, especially for the beauty industry.

She isn’t the first megastar of vlogging. Comedian Jenna Marbles (Jenna Mourey) became famous from her hysterically relatable how-to videos, such as “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking” which gained over 5.3 million views in only it’s first week. jenna-marblesMakeup tutorialist Michelle Phan has reached 7 million subscribers which has gained her a cosmetic line with L’Oreal, EM by Michelle Phan.

I find Youtubing is a remarkable way for someone with great ideas to get themselves noticed. I also find the concept of watching someone on Youtube an interesting look into the consumer psyche, playing on the same reason why we become obsessed with reality TV. In my research of popular Youtube channels, I found many informative clips about everything from hair straightening to reviews on breakfast cereal. I also found astounding numbers of views for “Get Ready With Me” videos that featured girls narrating their daily routine from washing their face to picking out which mug they would have their morning tea in. 132,000 people sat through 8 minutes of the day in the life of someone they didn’t know doing mundane things we all do every morning. Welcome to Youtube.

Back to Zoella. I had never actually watched an upload of hers until I heard of her groundbreaking book release, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I started with a video called “My First Time”, which isn’t what you would think. The perky Brit answers questions through an HD lens about firsts such as her first word. Which she can’t remember. So she calls her mom. Her mom doesn’t answer. She leaves a voicemail. She calls her dad. He can’t remember. It goes on from there. The view count? 4, 433, 464.

The life of a young vlogger doesn’t come without it’s hardships though. Firstly, it is hard work to establish a vlog viewers want to see. In the case of Jenna Marbles, she struck it lucky with a video so funny it was a viral hit. And she followed through with more comedic content to keep viewers hooked. Vloggers must be consistent, dedicated to making fresh videos and responding to the community (yes, Youtube is a strong online community). It helps if they display a likeable personality which will help viewers get to know them on a level one would get to know a friend. Vloggers must face the criticism of trolling commentors making harsh remarks or stirring up religion based baloney just to get a reaction.

And so I add vlogs to the list of ways advertising is rapidly changing. With the staggering rates in which some successful vlogstars get paid by companies ($300,000 a year in some cases), perhaps I’ll turn Sell Me About It into a video log. You can watch me discuss marketing trends as I simultaneously apply mascara. After that I’ll fold some laundry, I’m sure I can gain a few hundred thousand views for that.

Fighting Photoshop

Lately Adobe’s cellulite sucking, crease smoothing, skin tanning graphic editor Photoshop has been the talk of celebrities and advertisers alike.

In 2012, this video was released to demonstrate the dramatic changes Photoshop can make to a woman’s body. The video takes a normal woman’s photo and alters it into a more “idealistic”, nearly doll-like shot.

Some people are growing tired of Photoshopped bodies. Everywhere you look there are glossy magazines and billboards with perfectly crafted images that make real life consumers feel inadequate. Actress Keira Knightley recently spoke out about how offended she was when her figure was digitally enhanced for a movie poster. She opted to have a topless photoshoot done to reveal her true, unedited shape. Other frequently pictured celebrities such as movie star Brad Pitt and Victoria Secret model Gisele Bündchen have been captured through an unaltered lens to show their real selves. 

American Eagle is banning Photoshop from their recent ad campaign, showcasing models who are “Aerie Real.” aerie-real-5The photographs include beauty marks, dimples and fat. (By “fat”, they refer to the normal gather of skin around the belly or proportionately sized thighs. None of the models could be considered fat.) Singer and actress Vanessa Hudgens was featured in Bongo’s 100% non-retouched fall campaign. Companies who chose to implement campaigns that are Photoshop free are being hailed as brave for having real women representing them….

My favourite example of a company who actually got this right is Dove, who uses your average woman in their campaigns. halfDove celebrates wrinkles and freckles and slender girls and curvy girls and healthiness and confidence. Some of their ads seem “shocking” to our delicate beauty sensibilities, but that isDove (big?) only because they are so authentic.

Of course the entire beauty industry will not change overnight. At least the ban of Photoshopped faces in some campaigns are a benefit, but not all companies will go this route. Edited images sell and will continue to sell for years to come. As consumers, even if we know the truth, we still have a need to emulate these idealistic images and it is built in to our psyche that, say, an advertised liquid concealer will help us achieve it.

Throwback Thursday: Glitz, Flash and Sparkle

Sell Me About It is introducing a new idea to pay homage to some favourite ads of the past. It is inspired by Facebook and Twitter’s infamous Throwback Thursday, where posters proudly present their followers with snapshots of their grade eight graduation (braces and all) or last Halloween’s hilarious hi-jinx.

This week’s Thursday throwback is Dior’s J’adore advert that graced our screens in 2011. This glittering tribute to old Hollywood glamour was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and is set at the Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Accompanying Charlize Theron in the bustle of backstage preparation are the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly who have been digitally added. Charlize commands the catwalk to the vocally electrifying Heavy Cross by Gossip.

The campaign was a celebration of a new version of the Dior scent, released that year. The beauty of the remastered imagining, the music selection and all the glitz, flash and sparkle  earns it a place in my collection of favourite ads from the past.