As a woman, the topic of makeup is one with which I am all too familiar–along with millions of other females around the world. The cosmetics industry is a behemoth of a business, and all it takes is a simple Google or YouTube search to find piles of makeup tutorials to widen the eyes, smooth the skin, plump the lips, thicken the eyebrows, you name it. Advertisers have long been taking advantage of women’s desire and willingness to buy all these products, but most makeup commercials stick to a standard method of showing a celebrity with flawless skin and gorgeous features to sell the brand. Dermablend, however, took a slightly different approach by letting two people with serious skin conditions explain how makeup has allowed them to show their inner beauty.
At first the concept seems a bit confusing and hypocritical. How can putting on makeup show the world your true self? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? That when you take your makeup off you’re being the real you? Those were my initial thoughts when reading about Dermablend’s idea for the advertisement, anyway, but I was pleasantly surprised at the direction with which they took the concept.
The agency, Agence Tuxedo, created two videos with two women discussing the troubles they’ve faced because of their skin conditions. Cassandra Bankson–who you may recognize from her super-popular YouTube videos–battles severe acne, and Cheri Lindsay has vitiligo. Both women explain how people would react differently when seeing their skin, because it was all they saw. It made it difficult for Cassandra and Cheri to show people who they really were because most of them couldn’t see past their faces. But with the makeup on, it was easier for their personalities to shine through.
This isn’t an entirely new concept, because I would bet that’s how most women feel. Confidence usually comes easier when we’re looking our best. But for Dermablend to 1) use two women with severe skin conditions and 2) show their makeup-free faces (which is also brave of Cassandra and Cheri) is an unconventional approach. But it’s also a smart one.
Dermablend is a company that designs products for women like Cassandra and Cheri. It isn’t necessarily for people with an occasional pimple or slight discoloration or redness. It’s tough for people who do have more severe skin issues to relate to ads that show people whose biggest problem is under-eye circles, so that’s where this ad comes into play. While the average makeup wearer may not be able to completely understand these women’s circumstances, the people who live these circumstances will definitely get it. And they’ll buy Dermablend.
So I think this brand won on two fronts. They’ve gone against the grain of the cosmetics industry by actually showing people’s imperfections, and they’ve managed to connect to their target audience in the process. Cue the applause.