Beauty Beyond Words: Unveiling the Art of Compelling Beauty Ads

Beauty brands – they have a profound influence on how women and young girls perceive themselves. When they gaze into the mirror, do they focus on that single zit, thinking about spending hundreds of dollars on eliminating it? Or do they see the radiance of their inner beauty reflected in their smiles? Beauty brands, both directly and indirectly, play a pivotal role in shaping these perspectives – through their ads. 

Beauty ads have the power to help women embrace their imperfections or to influence them to strive for flawlessness. They have the power to empower women or even set unrealistic beauty standards. Beauty ads can change lives or sell harmful lies. We’ve spoken already about ads that belong to the second category and now it’s time for the other kind of beauty ads. The kind that redefines beauty standards, resonates with women around the world, and leaves a lasting impact. 

We’ll talk about ones with exceptional design, ads with a powerful message, creative concepts, and unique marketing strategies. Ready to get inspired? Let’s go. 

Outdoor campaigns 

1. Dove’s Injectable Billboard 

Dove is known for its thoughtful campaigns and the outdoor campaign below is a good example. 

At first glance, the above ad looks like any normal billboard. But what makes it one of the best beauty ads is the idea behind it. The design uses thousands of syringes. The ad is to throw light on the alarming fact that “more than 50,000 cosmetic injectibles were performed on teens the previous year”. 

This powerful installation aimed at initiating conversations about toxic beauty standards. 

  • Bold visuals – the syringes added so much more depth and made the billboard hard to ignore. 
  • Simplify the message communication part in your ad – this ad does it through its copy. 
  • Take a stand – it humanizes your brand and shows your customers what your brand truly values. 
2. When Chanel took over the Rockefeller Center

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of its iconic perfume N°5, Chanel put together one of the most extravagant and memorable outdoor campaigns. The ice rink in Rockefeller Center came to life with the majestic perfume bottle sculptures installed by Chanel. 

The event was a weeklong celebration where people could marvel at the sculptures, sip hot chocolate at the lounge, take selfies amidst the grand spectacle or even take part in interactive games. On the whole, this is one of the best beauty ads that brings lessons in experiential marketing. 

  • The campaign is a good example of using visual storytelling in marketing. The sculptures and the overall setup boosted brand awareness and evoked a sense of nostalgia. 
  • With the many experiences offered in one event, the brand created an immersive campaign that left a lasting impact on its customers. 
  • The kind of media coverage and social media popularity this campaign created shows what one creative idea can do for a brand. 
3. Estée Lauder’s Gifts of Love pop-up store 

The 20th of May is celebrated as 520 Day in China. Notably, it is a day for couples to express their love. In other words, a Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. To celebrate this occasion this year, Estée Lauder came up with a creative outdoor campaign in the form of a pop-up store titled, “Gifts of Love”. 

The pop-up store featured several of  Estée Lauder’s brands like La Mer, Jo Malone London, and Tom Ford. the brand went to great heights in planning the store and its details such as the heart-shaped layout visible in the aerial view! 

A few notable details at the pop-up store include: 

  • A photo booth for customers 
  • A section for gifting inspiration 
  • On-the-spot engraving services 
  • Pop-up stores hold a unique position in marketing, enabling brands to amplify engagement and spur sales by leveraging the power of exclusivity and urgency. They are particularly effective in active shopping seasons like Halloween and Christmas. 
  • Since the store featured different brands – the branding aspect was clearly established. From the dark greens to represent La Mer to the golden florals for Estée Lauder – the aesthetics at the store made it easier for customers to find what they wanted. That’s the strength of strong branding for external events and pop-up stores. 

Social media contests and giveaways 

4. Benefit Cosmetics Brow Search 

Brow Search is an ongoing social media contest hosted by Benefit Cosmetics. In response to the warm welcome the campaign received the first time, the brand has made it a periodic event. And today, it is something that several Benefit Cosmetics customers look forward to making it one of the exemplary beauty ads in the social media realm. 

The campaign calls for entries in the form of social media posts (photos or short-form videos) demonstrating brow looks created using the Benefit Cosmetics brow range. Winners get a cash prize and the Best-In-Brows crown. 

  • The Brow Search campaign is a good example of community building. It helps customers connect with fellow customers and get inspired by their ideas. 
  • The campaign’s fun and straightforward concept resonates with a wide audience, making it more inclusive and enjoyable for participants.
5. Colour Pop Cosmetics Sweepstakes 

The Halloween season is just around the corner and so we are seeing brands actively launching their spooky campaigns. Engaging ideas like sweepstakes are great during such busy shopping seasons. And Colour Pop Cosmetics knows this well. 

Partnering with a fashion label Cakeworthy, Colour Pop Cosmetics announced its spooky sweepstakes for this year in the below post. 

Rewards included branded stationery, e-gift cards, and Colour Pop Cosmetics products. 

  • Collaborating with another brand enhances the campaign’s appeal by leveraging the existing fan base and cross-promotion opportunities.
  • The campaign’s entry requirements encourage active engagement on social media, boosting brand visibility and interaction.
  • The branded stationery items in the rewards carry brand elements of both the collaborating brands. They also feature an eerie Halloween theme to highlight the occasion and the seasonal relevance. Having a strong brand identity design makes it easier to add a visual reminder of your brand in such sweepstake rewards. 

Influencer and celebrity collaborations 

6. Glossier x WNBA Body Hero campaign 

Glossier is a cult-favorite beauty brand known for its knack for leveraging social media and influencer marketing. Its #BodyHero campaign is the perfect example. 

As a part of promoting the launch of new products in its Body Hero range, Glossier teamed up with some WNBA players. In the featured video the players defy common beauty norms while also showing how Glossier products fit into their daily skincare routines. 

  • Instead of going with the cliched approach of collaborating with film celebrities and models for beauty ads, Glossier partnered with underappreciated WNBA players. This diverse representation and authentic approach warmed the hearts of its customers. 
  • Self-shot videos by WNBA players provide authentic and relatable content, fostering stronger brand engagement. This shows the strength of user-generated content in marketing. 

Need help in compiling user-generated content into shareable videos for your social media page? Get a KIMP Video subscription. 

7. Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign 

Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign features a wide range of global ambassadors including Ashley Graham, Adwoa Aboah, and others. Additionally, the brand released an anthem featuring these ambassadors.

These individuals were selected not just for their beauty but for their commitment to living boldly and for embodying strong, outspoken beliefs. In short, the chosen ambassadors resonated well with the “Live Boldly” mantra that the campaign was all about. This is what makes it one of the most relatable beauty ads out there. 

  • The anthem released with the campaign was a hit on social media. This shows the effectiveness of share-worthy content for brands. It also proves that content marketing fosters lasting relationships with customers. 
  • Featuring ambassadors from various races, ages, and sizes resonates with a broader audience. This shows the significance of diverse representation. 
8. Maybelline’s TikTok sensation mascara 

In early 2021, Maybelline’s Sky High Mascara took TikTok by storm as users raved about its ability to provide striking length and volume without clumping. 

Maybelline’s idea of promoting its Sky High mascara through TikTok is proof of the strength of going viral on social media. Advocated by influencers and social media users, the product grew so popular that it sold out 4 times. 

Furthermore, the content created around this viral mascara reached more than 570 million views within a short time. The trend got so popular on the internet that it expanded beyond TikTok and several YouTube creators also started sharing their experiences with the product on YouTube. 

  • The brand actively shared content from users around the world further adding to the omentum of the campaign. 
  • The brand featured both micro-influencers and macro-influencers for a more holistic approach and to reach a wider group of audiences. 
  • The idea behind the content was simple – users showed live results of using the mascara. Authentic stories are what sold the product in this case. 
  • The campaign shows how virality of beauty ads on social media helps expand your brand’s reach across various platforms and boost sales. 

Cause marketing 

9. MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam 

MAC Cosmetics came up with the idea for the Viva Glam campaign back in 1994 and to date, this remains one of the iconic examples of cause marketing. 

Initially, the idea was to raise funds and build awareness for  HIV/AIDS programs. Since its inception, the brand has been partnering with rising stars in pop culture to share its voice. 

Over the years, the brand has collaborated with a variety of artists and celebrities for the campaign. For example in 2021, MAC Cosmetics released an exclusive collection commemorating Keith Haring (a trendsetting artist in pop art who died of AIDS). 

The below post is a recent one from the brand gathering support for the Viva Glam campaign. 

  • Viva Glam demonstrates how a brand can use its platform to make a meaningful difference in the world, aligning its marketing efforts with a noble cause.
  • From limited-edition products to social media contests, the brand adopts a variety of content formats and platforms in order to popularize its campaign. This is also one of the reasons why the campaign has stood the test of time. 
  • The brand clearly communicates how the funds are used and the impacts achieved. This transparency builds trust. This is very much essential for cause marketing. 
10. Clinique’s Difference Initiative 

The Difference Initiative by Clinique is a program that aims to empower women by instilling confidence in them and encouraging them to make a difference in the world, whether it be in their community or personal life.

Clinique’s commitment to these essential pillars not only drives positive change but also reinforces the brand’s dedication to women’s empowerment and personal growth.

  • The campaign’s success lies in authentic storytelling. Through its social media videos and posts the brand tells the stories of real women to inspire women around the world. 
  • The popularity of this initiative from Clinique shows the effectiveness of purpose-driven branding. 

Print advertising 

11. Aveeno Bad Hair Day 

Aveeno’s print campaign titled Bad Hair Day included a series of designs all depicting various hair problems and the discomfort they cause. This campaign from the year 2022 was about empathizing with women struggling with bad hair days. The idea was to promote the leave-in hair treatment products from the brand. 

  • The idea itself is relatable and the expressions on the faces of the models featured help establish the emotional connection required in the ad. 
  • The design is easy to understand and on-theme. By adding a supportive copy, the brand ensures that the message is clear. 
  • The print campaign takes the simplest of ideas and communicates them with utmost clarity through image manipulation. For this, it uses a metaphorical representation of the ideas and that’s what makes these ads memorable. 

Need help editing your images to create stunning ads out of them? Get a KIMP Graphics subscription. 

12. Pantene Pro-V Formula

Created for its market in Turkey, the above ad from Pantene is a visual stunner. It shows how you can take a simple concept and tell a story with it. Visual narratives such as the one above ensure that customers easily understand the intended message.

  • The print ad design featured here shows the use of illustration in advertising. To put it in another way, it shows how using custom illustrations instead of stock images can indeed create a world of difference in advertising. 
  • Additionally, this ad is also an example of the need for storytelling in branding. The visuals here tell you a story – they tell you that the advertised product helps build your hair strands and strengthen it. This paints a long-lasting picture of the brand and the product in the minds of its customers. 

Create stunning beauty ads for your print and digital campaigns with KIMP

In conclusion, crafting beauty ads necessitates a delicate harmony of visuals, messaging, brand identity, and a compelling value proposition. As demonstrated by the beauty ads on our list, those that manage to strike this balance are the ones that get noticed. 

However, the question remains: Are you prepared to harness this balance for your brand’s success? Notably, many brands face challenges in the visual aspect of their campaigns, and this is where a design subscription like KIMP can be a game-changer. So, if you’re ready to elevate your brand’s visual impact and storytelling, it’s time to explore the advantages of signing up for a design subscription today.

Register now for a free 7-day trial!