Carol's Daughter Ups Social Media Star Power Amid Massive Growth

Is Iridescent the New Black? Multicultural Has Become Omnicultural for L'Oreal USA Brand

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L'Oreal USA's multicultural beauty brand Carol's Daughter is turning up the star power in a second year of its #BornandMade social and digital campaign amid explosive growth and distribution that's expanded roughly six-fold to 25,000 stores this year.

The campaign, which began last year featuring social media influencers to celebrate the origin stories of women who use its products, this year has enlisted Dascha Polanco from Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day, and model Nazanin Mandi.

Carol's Daughter is also encouraging women to share their own stories on the website, this year adding a GIF generator that combines women's childhood photos with their adult photos to tell the stories visually. Sid Lee New York helped create the idea, with videos and other creative produced in-house.

L'Oreal, which acquired Carol's Daughter in 2014, has been a major factor in that distribution build this year, of course. And that's given the brand money to try building on last year's impact, which prompted more than 100,000 women to share their stories, a top trending-topic ranking on Instagram, and a Shorty Award. The GIF generator aims to maximize impact on Instagram, which proved to be the most effective social medium for Carol's Daughter last year, said Laetitia Raoust, VP-marketing.

The campaign comes at a time when some other ethnic beauty marketers have criticized how the category gets pigeonholed or overlooked in the broader business, such as in a recent campaign by Droga5 for SheaMoisture.

"The criticism is, I think, an old conversation," said Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price, an Ad Age Woman to Watch in 2011. "The retailers are open, receptive and aware of the changes, and many have been making those changes over the past six or seven years."

Perhaps the biggest difference has been in ethnic haircare, once focused mainly on women who straighten their hair and relaxers to accomplish that, she said. "Target was one of the retailers that changed that conversation and realized that there's now this growing population of women who are doing alternate things with their hair."

But the deeper reality is that it's no longer really an "ethnic" aisle at all, but truly a multicultural business in which women of color are fast becoming the majority in much of the country, including now the biggest 13 cities and by the 2030s likely the entire country, Ms. Price said.

For its part, Carol's Daughter isn't positioned specifically for African-American or Hispanic women, or any ethnic group.

"We have millennials growing up defining themselves in a completely different way," Ms. Price said. "So we have to have an inclusive conversation. We don't refer to multicultural as everyone who is nonwhite. We refer to multicultural as everyone. I believe retailers are still in a little bit of a space where multicultural is nonwhite. But they're getting to that place where they're figuring out how do they get to the logistics of talking to everyone at the same time without confusing anyone or taking away navigation in stores that they're accustomed to."

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