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Diversity and inclusion in fashion and cosmetic ads

There is a change in the way bolder cosmetics and fashion brands are marketing their products. Moving on from the top model standard to a realistic representation of the audience results in more diversity. Of course, with the goal of reaching more consumers in various markets. However, it’s also what the audience demands. So it’s a win win situation, right?

Beauty comes from within, or so we tell ourselves. Yet, the global cosmetics market is set to reach $834 billion by 2024. Still, many of the ads in the industry are polished to meet the standard of what is generally seen as “perfection“. 

The bright bold and beautiful 

Gucci Beauty chose a different route for its new collection of lipsticks. They recently published an ad featuring a close-up of Dani Miller, amongst others. Dani smiles, showing gaps between her teeth. She is wearing the brands bright red lipstick. The copy reads: “For the Bright, Bold, and Beautiful.” 

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Gucci Beauty ad on Instagram

The public’s opinion

Although the sentiment on social media is shifting to encourage embracing our “imperfections”. These representative images don’t appeal to everyone. Comments on social media vary from praising Gucci Beauty to bashing the brand. Did some of us get too comfortable with social ads promoting perfection? Are we blinded to see the beauty in anything that doesn’t fit into that box? Efforts of self-love influencers don’t seem enough to defeat the unrealistic images in our feeds. We are used to perfectly photoshopped pictures and that only emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in social media marketing.

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More diversity through influencers

Influencers are a great way to reach a specific target audience. The most recent ‘Oil and Shine’ line by Andrélon was promoted by Saara Zai, a content creator and influencer who happens to be wearing a hijab. Most hair care brands started including various types of hair, Andrélon did the same and found that there were not many options available for covered hair. The response to this launch is very positive so far. 

Fashion for everyone

The fashion ads weren’t much different from the cosmetic ads. Women felt underrepresented in ads for decades. Brands are more aware that their focus should be on consumers of all colours, shapes, and sizes.

This year Monki launched their ‘All about you – as you are’ collection emphasising self love. It has a variety of five neutral shades, because “nude is not just one colour of beige”. In July the brand published a video ad on social from the ‘Just like it is’ campaign. They featured a variety of women hanging out in their underwear. The brand focussed on what women can identify with, which is not only being sexy all the time. The campaign is about being yourself, a great example other brands can learn from. 

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Image: Monki campaign

Time for change

Some fashion houses have been accused of insensitivity and racism towards specific groups, others are taking action. Chanel recently hired their first head of diversity and inclusion, Fiona Pargeter. She will try to establish more diversity and inclusion for Chanel, regarding the work environment but also the image of the brand.

Personally I think it’s a great to see changes in brands perspectives and social ads. Even if it’s slow and steady with some backlash. The process is necessary, for those critics who share their unfiltered opinions now. And even more so for a the younger generation. They won’t notice anything unusual in similar ads, as diversity and inclusivity will be the new norm in marketing.

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