Can Sultry Sell in Thailand? Makeup Marketer To Find Out

Cosmetics Retailer Oriental Princess Taps Into Thai Women Who Question Traditions

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In modern-day Asia, traditional attitudes toward women and their roles in society are common. Cosmetics advertising often portrays women as sweet and cute, reinforcing age-old stereotypes.

A Thai skincare and cosmetics retailer challenged those cultural norms with a campaign built around a murder-mystery, appealing to women who would prefer to be a femme fatale.

'Murder Mystery' campaign
'Murder Mystery' campaign

"It's okay to be sexy, mysterious and in control," said Satit Jantawiwat, executive creative director at JWT Bangkok, which created the campaign for the "Reflection" collection from Oriental Princess (admittedly not a very noir brand name).

"Young Thai women are now more educated, more confident and more self-expressive than ever before, and slowly, they are starting to question Thai society's traditional view of women," Mr. Jantawiwat told Ad Age in an email interview. Thai society remains male-dominated, but women are firmly in control of their beauty, he said.

The campaign, aimed at OP's target consumer of moderate to high income women over 25, involves a four-part mini-movie series about a police investigation into the murder of a business tycoon. The prime suspects are beautiful women: a doctor, a biologist, an astronomer, a writer, an actress and a designer.

A TV spot served as the "movie trailer," inviting consumers to watch the series online. The online videos included "Get the Look" icons that opened tutorials showing consumers how to re-create the characters' looks at home.

JWT chose a murder theme because "Thai women do not want to reveal their inner feelings or desires. Most thoughts, especially the negative ones, are kept inside, as they have fear for the consequences. Women turn to dramas and soap opera for emotional release. The type of drama they are interested in are romantic dramas, love stories -- and dramatic tales of murder and intrigue," Mr. Jantawiwat said.

Consumers could go to the campaign's Facebook page to collect badges and earn points toward product discounts or rewards. Facebook usage is surging in Thailand, thanks to the growing reach of 3G networks.

The campaign drew almost 300,000 visitors to the Reflections microsite in the two weeks after the TV spot ran late last year, JWT said.

"The response exceeded our expectations. The number of consumers who spent a large amount of time engaged with the campaign and exploring the product tutorials was impressive, and it really created a lot of excitement around the product offering, and the brand, as a whole," Apaiporn Srisook, marketing director at OP Natural Products, said in a statement.

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