Do-It-Yourself: The new model for luxury advertising

Isaac Mostovicz writes that Clarins has decided that advertising agencies are not the best solution for a luxury brand...

Are the en-masse skills of big advertising agencies not suited to the refined marketing objectives of luxury brands? This is what the Chief Executive of Clarins, the maker of high-end cosmetics and skin-care products, has suggested with his decision to create a new ad campaign internally, and end his work with international advertising house Euro RSCG.

The new ad campaign has been created with Guido Mocafico, a photographer well-known for his still lifes, who said he has attempted to show real people and “natural beauty”. Retouching of the photos was limited to two hours maximum, to “keep this real aspect” of the models. This is in contrast to the campaigns produced by large advertising agencies who show “big stars, retouched”, he said.

Philip Shearer, Chief Executive, explained that after 30 years in the industry, having worked with various agencies, a change was needed. According to Clarins, a luxury brand needs more individuality and precision in its marketing, and would benefit more from a campaign derived from “the relationship between an artist and an owner”, as Mocafico describes it.

Having gone private in 2008, just before the financial crisis erupted, this latest move to produce its advertising campaigns privately as well shows an emphasis on making Clarins a unique, independent name. Opting out of the mass-produced cosmetics ads that may not differ greatly between brands, Clarins intends to make its brand more identifiable and is doing the creative thinking inside the business, where affiliation with the brand is stronger than in an outsourced advertising agency.

For Lambdas, the Clarins ad campaign may appeal due to the aspect of differentiation and uniqueness of the ads, and the thought put into the work. Thetas too would be attracted to the campaign, but rather for the sense of “a cut above the rest” that derives from such an advertising strategy.

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