Katie Couric fronts SK-II ads addressing female stereotypes in Asia Pacific and US

Veteran American journalist Katie Couric is the face of a new campaign by Japanese skincare brand SK-II.

Called “Timelines” and created by Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, the campaign is a four-part documentary that goes in-depth into sensitive topics like marriage pressure and societal expectations that women face in Asia Pacific and the United States.

SK-II hopes that these stories will be able to inspire women around the world to draw their own timelines and celebrate that destiny is a matter of choice, instead of living a life according to society’s expectations of them.

Couric starts her journey at home in New York, where she talks to Maluca, a musician and her mother Liz, to explore the generational shift that has happened.

The former television host then meets fashion buyer Maina and her mother and grandmother, Yumiko and Sahako in Tokyo, Japan, to explore what it means to be marriageable in a country with a tradition of conformity.

She then crosses over to Shanghai to Chun Xia, an actress and SK-II global brand ambassador, and her childhood best friend, Dan Hua. Couric finds out that they have different expectations in life, even though they grew up together.

At her final stop in Seoul, Couric meets Nara, an artist and influencer, and her mother, Soon, who live in two different worlds. She finds out how they try to navigate their way in a country that is rapidly changing but grappling with traditional values.

“For the ‘Timelines’ docu-series, I was able to speak one-on-one with four incredibly strong women from around the globe who embodied this new generation of women writing their own rules to follow their dreams, while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most,” said Couric.

“To me, ‘Timelines’ was illustrative of the power of a brand embracing a controversial topic and creating an environment where conversations could take place and cultural change could actually happen. None of these things happen overnight, but I think the fact that a short film can really move people to talk about things that are difficult to talk about inspired me a lot.”

Sandeep Seth, the chief executive officer for global SK-II added: “At SK-II, we are committed to using our voice to empower women to create their own destiny and overcome limitations placed on them, be it in skin or in life. We know that there are bigger issues our consumers - young working women - are struggling with beyond skin and beauty. Societal expectations and the pressures of being put in a “box” of being the perfect woman.”

“Marriage pressure forms a big part of this and is a highly relevant and real topic for women across countries and backgrounds. Katie Couric is the perfect partner to help uncover these unique perspectives and elevate this important conversation with ‘Timelines’. She shares our goal of inspiring women to challenge conventional norms and draw their own timelines. There’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”

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