Antoinette Beatson, Executive Creative Director at BETC, tells Dare! Online about ‘Skin Is More Than Skin’, a new campaign for La Roche-Posay that challenges the way skin is represented in media.
Focusing on a cast of people who live with common skin conditions, the campaign strays away from the idea of flawless skin to hone in on human imperfection.
Here, Antoinette explains the creative behind the Cannes-nominated campaign, and why the project resonated so well with its audience and the client.
This campaign was very different from typical skincare ads! Why did BETC move in this direction for La Roche-Posay?
Somewhere along the way, the skincare category lost its purpose and became an extension of the beauty industry, resulting in the alienation of the people who needed it most. Our ambition was to break out of these beauty codes and redirect the conversation back to what is really important – people, and the health of their skin. It was important to us to bring to light that, behind every skin issue there are people suffering from feelings of isolation, self-doubt and anxiety. By digging into the human factor of skin issues and presenting these raw insights, we were able to show the importance of a brand, such as La Roche-Posay, taking a stand and fighting alongside people everyday, for their right to healthy skin.
What was the brief?
La Roche-Posay has always been committed to skin health. They’re a brand that’s been partnering with dermatologists all over the world to better understand skin needs, and they habitually conduct clinical studies on the most sensitive of skin to ensure their products’ efficacy.
The catch was they had never felt the need to communicate their commitment at a brand level before, until they saw that the category had become so saturated by beauty. This is when the conversation around skin health and the impact on people’s lives was being forgotten. The original brief was to reveal the beliefs and commitments of the brand and to put the conversation back on track.
The film reveals skin textures and conditions we don’t really see in media. Was it difficult to convince the client to go with this?
La Roche-Posay knew this was an important message and it was time for the brand to tell the world what they strongly believe in. There was fear of course that a campaign as raw as this would be seen negatively within the category, but they were brave enough to take that risk and are very proud of the work.
What kind of people were included in the ad? How were they chosen and what was casting like?
As advertising has traditionally ostracised anything but perfectly skinned models, it took us a month to find our cast of non-actors with active skin issues, having to dive into online skin support communities and social media groups. With skin issues long being linked to low self-esteem, it was a challenge to find people brave enough to bare their skin and accept however it looked on the day without make-up or retouching. We worked hard to make the casting process a supportive space knowing that it would be their first time talking about issues that had caused them pain.
It was crucial that we cast a range of people different audiences could identify with, showcasing multiple problems including acne, eczema, scars and allergies as well as multiple ethnicities and ages.
How did you portray people in an empowering way?
We never wanted the people we featured to be viewed as victims or for people to feel sorry for them. We were very aware there is a big difference between hearing their stories and their courage first-hand, and then trying to capture that in a 45-second film and portrait series. There is a fine line between sharing pain and suffering and exploiting it. We made it our priority to feature the bravery and fight that inspired this campaign in the first place. Our director, Lucy Luscombe, was a crucial part of this. She worked tirelessly to create a space where the members of our cast felt comfortable to share such intimate stories and emotions with us.
What did you hope to achieve with ‘Skin Is More Than Skin’ and what was the reaction to it?
We hope that people can watch this and connect with it, whether from past experiences or present ones, and feel a little more courageous and empowered to face any obstacles because they know they’re not fighting alone.