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Marketing Brand Strategy Skincare

Cetaphil’s new global campaign adds some sex appeal with ‘We do skin, you do you’

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By Webb Wright | NY reporter

August 31, 2022 | 6 min read

The 75-year-old brand pushes the message that healthy skin leads to a more engaged life, even in the bedroom.

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Cetaphil’s new campaign targets women with sensitive skin / Cetaphil

Your skin isn’t only your body’s largest organ – it’s also the interface between you and the wider world, your most intimate point of contact with objects and other people. When your skin is healthy, you’re therefore able to move through the world with more confidence and ease.

This is the theme underlying Cetaphil’s new global campaign, titled ‘We do skin, you do you.’ The effort, spearheaded by Deutsch NY, highlights the feeling of confidence that can occur as a byproduct of maintaining healthy skin. In a series of TV and social media spots, the campaign targets women with sensitive skin. (Women comprise around 70% of the brand’s buyers.)

“When we did research, in almost every region, what we got back from women was that sensitive skin was literally holding them back from living their life,” says Tyler Helms, executive vice-president, group account director at Deutsch NY. “They weren’t able to do the things they wanted to do because of their skin. That was a big deal ... so we translated that creatively ... We’re not gonna save your life and solve every problem, but we are gonna help you live a life that’s more full and help you do more things that you maybe weren’t doing before.”

The campaign’s new video spots open with a question: “What can you do with sensitive skin?” We’re then taken through a series of shots of women, all looking happy and healthy, who are engaging in activities – such as yoga, trying on sweaters and kickboxing – that can both take a toll on skin and can quickly become uncomfortable without adequate skincare. Whereas traditional skincare ads tend to feature close-ups of models, the production team behind the new Cetaphil campaign opted to show women participating in everyday, relatable activities out in the world.

“We wanted to feature women who made you feel like they were your friends,” says Liz Gumbinner, executive vice-president, executive creative director at Deutsch NY. “They were out living life, and they’re captured in the moment doing whatever it is that they do that makes them feel like them. I was not about perfect skin. We cast a really diverse group of women, not because they had perfect skin, but because they exuded the energy that we wanted the campaign to represent. They exuded feeling free in their skin.”

The new Cetaphil ads also feature some light sex appeal. In one scene, for example, we see a woman’s legs emerging from beneath a bedsheet, right next to a man’s. Another scene shows a man and a woman making out on a staircase, and yet another shows a heterosexual couple sitting at opposite ends of a bathtub. (Some regions, such as Saudi Arabia and China, will not see the sexual scenes.) This is another domain in which the new ads deviate from the norms of skincare marketing; while not totally sexless, traditional skincare ads tend to be a little more implicit in their sexual innuendos and imagery.

Cetaphil, owned by the pharmaceutical company Galderma, was first created in 1947. “We’ve dedicated over 75 years to intimately understanding the unique needs of sensitive skin with the consumers at the heart of all we do,” Jerome Brathwaite, Cetaphil’s global brand equity leader, said in a statement. “Our new, bold campaign highlights true and relatable sensitive skin moments and demonstrates how Cetaphil helps to remove boundaries, empowering consumers to engage freely with the world on their own terms.”

The new campaign launched earlier this month in the US and will be rolled out globally in phases through early 2023.

Credits

Deutsch New York

Creatives

Chief creative officer: Samira Ansari

EVP executive creative director: Liz Gumbinner

EVP head of art and design: Melatan Riden

Integrated Production

EVP head of integrated production: Miriam Franklin

SVP associate head of integrated production/studio: Sarah Manna

Senior producer: Hannah Kessler

Producer: Matt Onorato

Print producer: Melissa Betancur

Senior retoucher: Alice Mazorra

Account Planning

SVP group planning director: Michelle Rowley

Senior strategist: Caroline Jordan

Director of digital strategy: Alexis Madison

Account Management

EVP group account director: Tyler Helms

Account executive: Lindsey Moy

Business Affairs

Associate business affairs manager: Abigail Donoghue

Production company: Spark & Riot

Director: Elisha Smith Leverock

Editorial: Final Cut NY

Telecine: Electric Theatre Collective

Visual Effects/Animation/Finishing: Electric Theatre Collective

Music/Licensed music tracks: Machine Sound

Audio post: Machine Sound

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Marketing Brand Strategy Skincare

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