Creative Awards Case Studies PR Case Studies

Estrid's Human Renaissance campaign explained


By The Drum, Editorial

December 7, 2023 | 6 min read

The Romans and Estrid have won the Social Influencers category at The Drum Awards for PR. Here is the award-winning case study.

Check out the award-winning campaign

The beauty industry pedals a bunch of idealistic and unrealistic definitions of beauty, gender and race. Hold the front page, what a shock, who knew, let’s start a, etc. We’re obviously not surprised at the influence the beauty industry has. But it is seriously hard to believe how glacial the pace of inclusion is. Razors ‘for her’ that’ll cost you an extra pound because they’re pink still exist. As do manly brushed metal Mandalorian ones ‘for him’ that look like they were created by George Lucas’s prop department. Even the simple act of hair removal has been glorified in (male-made) advertising, with pretty pin-ups perched daintily on the edges of baths as they tend to their smooth, impossibly long, smudge-free legs. It’s for this very reason our client, the brilliant, bold, non-binary beauty brand, Estrid, has been on a mission to revolutionise the beauty sector, starting with razors. Their goal: to create non-toxic products that are designed with humankind in mind and with diversity and inclusivity at their core.

STRATEGY Humans-with-the-ability-to-grow-body-hair feels like such a broad cohort to target for a campaign, but it’s broadly accurate. If we were to narrow it down further, we’d say our bullseye consumer is a city-living young professional who likes to take care of themselves. To reach them we knew we needed a campaign deeply rooted in culture. So here’s a cultural insight that’s existed for the best part of 700 years. Permit us to explain via the medium of Geoffrey Chaucer: “But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed; It was almost a spanne brood, I trowe; For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.” Chaucer sure knew what was hot. And The Prioress of The Canterbury Tales had a body hair regimen that simply would not quit (the previous quote specifically relates to how she plucked her hairline to give herself a bigger forehead, as was the fashion). In fact, hairline removal was just about the sexiest thing a woman could do during the Middle Ages. And boy did Medieval men love to write about female depilation. Similarly, Renaissance artists displayed a similar horror of hair. Consider, for example, Botticelli’s Venus, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Titian’s Venus, Cranach’s Creation of Adam and Eve. A Caravaggio, a Tintoretto, a Donatello. They’ve all got something in common. Not a pube in sight. No body hair whatsoever. Men have been using art to dictate idealised standards of beauty for women since the first caveman decided to graffiti his walls. And Estrid felt that it was high time things changed. Male, female, non-binary. Some hair. No hair. Tonnes of hair. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should look, you just do you.

THE IDEA So, we took nine of the most famous paintings from the Renaissance and reimagined them for the 21st century. We cast some of the most exciting and most diverse influencers across Europe as our subjects and, in doing so, explicitly reinserted body hair back into the frame. We worked with trans models Gialu and Nadia to update Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam to celebrate armpit hair. We partnered with Kyra to turn Carracci’s Venus, Adonis and Cupid to show the beauty of leg hair, unairbrushed skin, and vitiligo. Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus now features Esther, standing in the same famed shell but this time, proudly posing with her chest, stomach and bikini-line hair on show. Each and every person we partnered with brought a new and unique version of beauty for us to celebrate through our artworks, redefining and celebrating true human beauty as it exists in today’s world. Art directed and shot by The Romans team, the images are strikingly bold and beautiful. Despite taking visual cues from paintings that are hundreds of years old, they feel surprisingly current, perfectly suited to the pages of contemporary lifestyle media.

RESULTS What started as a UK-only influencer idea, quickly became so much bigger as our client bought more and more into the campaign (and in doing so, unlocked more and more budget). We secured stunning hero pieces in lifestyle media across Europe in the likes of Glamour, Grazia, Resumé (SEK), Kaltblut (DE), Nouveau (FR) plus dozens more, resulting in a combined total reach of 11,834,000. We toolkitted the idea for eight markets with the Estrid teams in Berlin and Stockholm deciding to showcase the images IRL by opening gallery spaces. A combined total of over 400 media and influencers attended the private views and to admire the reimagined works. The images were used as print ads in Sweden, Germany and the UK. They also run as outdoor ads in Estrid’s native Sweden. And finally of course, all of our influencers posted. Dozens and dozens of times, with a combined reach of over 29M views. The result? Another step in the right direction, a slightly less toxic beauty industry and a slightly more reappraised view of the true meaning of beauty: whatever makes you feel yourself. You know an idea is good when it starts gaining an unstoppable momentum. In this instance, what started at a UK-only, influencer-only idea very quickly became a pan-European above the-line campaign. The combination of a universally understood killer insight with strikingly bold and inclusive imagery meant that our campaign was able to seamlessly cross borders without being diluted or losing any of its impact. “This inclusive campaign is using Renaissance paintings to challenge toxic beauty standards.” - Glamour

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