Extreme Sports Athletes Put Bobbi Brown's Makeup to the Test

Campaign Illustrates 'Long-Wear, Life-Proof' Tag

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The cosmetics industry isn't known for being transparent. For the most part, its advertising is associated with gorgeous glam shots that have -- more likely than not -- been subjected to a bit of Photoshopping. Bobbi Brown, however, is taking a different approach for its latest campaign. The brand is putting its makeup up to some rigorous, real-world testing -- on the faces of extreme sports athletes.

To promote its new Long-Wear eye collection, the brand recently named four GoPro-sponsored athletes as its brand ambassadors: Olympic Gold Medal-winning alpine ski racer Julia Mancuso, Olympic snowboarder Hannah Teter, world record base jumper Roberta Mancino and professional surfer Kelia Moniz. As part of the program, the company asked the women to capture themselves on video wearing products from the line while in the midst of their athletic adventures.

"The tagline of the campaign is 'Long-wear, Life-Proof,' and the idea is if these athletes can use these products and push their limits, it's essentially life-proof for all women," said Alexis Rodriguez, Bobbi Brown's exec director-global communications, North America.

Ms. Rodriguez said she and her team didn't ask the athletes to make overt commercial plugs, but to "tell your story, how you push your limits, what makes you feel the most confident, and talk about the role of beauty in your lives."

Using their GoPro cameras, each athlete captured footage of themselves in action, which they then sent to Bobbi Brown. The footage was edited by Melinda James from About Her Films. "What's unique is that we're leveraging these athletes as brand partners, to be part of the brand storytelling," Ms. Rodriguez said. "They created the content. There were no storyboards or script."

The videos will live on a dedicated page of the Bobbi Brown site, Bobbibrown.com/longwearlifeproof, which features the athletes' personal stories and links to the products used in the videos. The brand will also be featuring the videos, as well as photos of the athletes on social media via @BobbiBrown and #LongwearLifeproof. The athletes will be sharing the content on their own social media accounts as well (@juliamancuso, @hannahteter, @keliamoniz and @mancinoroberta).

As for what inspired the campaign, "Bobbi has always had an affinity for athletes," Ms. Rodriguez said. "They truly epitomize what we call 'pretty powerful' -- you're pretty without makeup, but makeup also empowers you. We've always been looking for a way to partner with athletes that didn't feel like pay for play." She said most of the ambassadors had already been fans of the brand before the campaign, so it felt like a natural fit.

Indeed, there's no sense of hard sell in the films -- the makeup feels like a fun complement to each athlete's rigorous, high-octane feats on the surf, snow or in the sky.

The brand is rolling out the athlete's individual videos this week, with a big social push over the next three weeks. In the fourth week, Bobbi Brown will open the campaign up to consumers, providing Long-Wear makeup lessons via short Instagram videos and inviting the audience to share its stories.

According to Ms. Rodriguez, this is the first time a prestige cosmetics brand has allowed its ambassadors to have creative control of the content. "We felt like it was a risk worth-taking because we admired these athletes and we trusted them. They had a relationship with the brand prior to being official ambassadors, and we felt like we didn't have anything to lose. There wasn't anyone who could tell their stories better than they could." In this case, she said, "user-generated is more genuine than produced content."