Ulta Beauty pledges millions in diversity support
Ulta Beauty is committing $25 million this year in support, training initiatives and marketing promotions to Black-owned brands, Black guests and associates and other underrepresented voices. The Bolingbrook, Illinois-based retailer outlined its plans today with the promotion of a new campaign that showcases Black women.
Created with McCann, the 60-second commercial serves as an “ode to Black women and culture,” says Shelley Haus, Ulta’s chief marketing officer. “Obviously 2020 shined a very bright light on diversity and inclusion in the country and we have really accelerated our efforts in the space.”
The commercial features the likes of Lisa Price, founder of Black beauty brand Carol’s Daughter; Julee Wilson, beauty director at Cosmopolitan; and Whitney White, founder of Melanin Haircare. “Here’s to the muses. Our mothers always knew we’d be the ones to make magic. All that glitters, well, isn’t always told we are all shades of gold, black and beautiful,” says Jasmine Mans, an author and poet, in a voiceover. “We define beauty with legacies and melodies in our melanin. See it in the conviction of our curls.”
The spot closes with text that reads, “Ulta Beauty salutes you, your beauty & all you make possible.” Ulta also worked with MediaHub and Rise Interactive.
“The insight was really about the idea that Black women have had such an amazing influence on beauty and on our culture, yet that’s not brought to the forefront and celebrated as much as it could be,” says Haus.
The campaign will air broadly on programs including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “This Is Us,” as well as on digital platforms and on Telemundo in a Spanish version. A social component offering stories from each of the women in the spot will accompany the video on digital channels.
Ulta is spending $20 million on media investments to connect with Black and LatinX audiences, more than double what it has spent over the course of the last three years. Such investments include placements with BET, Essence and Univision, for example. The company is also investing $4 million in marketing the Black-owned brands it sells, a list it is doubling to 26 from 13 last year, and enhancing its training programs for store associates. Ulta also said today that Tracee Ellis Ross, CEO and founder of Pattern Beauty, will be its new diversity and inclusion advisor.
Ulta is not the only one pledging to invest more in support of the Black community. Chief competitor Sephora last month outlined a plan on how it hopes to reduce racial bias within its stores.
While Ulta’s support of diversity and inclusion is not tied to Black History Month specifically, its timing is serendipitous. Experts expect more marketers to amplify and expand their Black History Month programs this year following last year’s social unrest after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Brands like Bombas and Under Armour have released collections designed by their own Black employees.