“In one weekend, the filter had 15 million users,” she noted. “But that filter is not creative play, it’s not funny, it actually transforms the face. Someone on my team sent me a video of her with that filter, and I said to her that’s not you. This is not true. I did it myself and I couldn’t look at it. It wasn’t me. And it’s showing to young girls a version that does not exist and who are going to feel the pressure to look like that. We know the impact toxicity and social are having on young girls.”
For El Honsali, one of the key takeaways from the campaign was that a community that shares the same values would have never been possible if it was transactional.
“We trust our creators to bring creativity to us,” she said. “We’re a brand that’s been creating big campaigns for many years. And the shake-up happened because of the creators bringing their own creativity to the table.”
From challenger brands to Hottest Brands of 2023
MG Empower and Costa Brazil’s #FollowMyScent campaign to promote Aroma, the brand’s first fragrance, also reached out to the people by taking to the streets—literally. Costa noted that the team went out and asked people to tell what Aroma really meant to them, what color they saw when they smelled the fragrance. The campaign combined multichannel influencer marketing—including actor Zane Phillips and supermodel Candice Swanepoel—livestream shopping, an in-person pop-up activation in New York and an immersive installation in Cannes.
In addition to MG Empower’s work with Costa Brazil, Genovese pointed to two brand partners whose go-to-market strategies exemplify the new wave of co-creation. The first, Purecane, started working with Genovese in 2018 before it even had a brand name.
“A client came to me and said they have an ingredient to create a sweetener that is 100% clean, sustainable, made with sugarcane and tastes like sugar, but they don’t have a name, don’t have the packaging, and really want to tap into the millennial audience,” Genovese said. “So I said the best way to actually create this brand is to bring millennials around the table and co-create this brand with them.”
When she proposed the idea to the client, they balked, reasoning that they needed experts with an understanding of how to build a brand. However, Genovese suggested mixing creators with millennial consumers who both use and don’t use sweetener, along with brand-building specialists. She also suggested a five-day immersive experience that gathered these disparate groups around the table to co-create the brand.
“They accepted the challenge,” said Genovese. “That was the first experience of where we got a brand and creators to co-create a brand. And that’s when I thought, OK, this is actually how it should be: When you are creating a brand or when you’re launching a product, why not bring to the table creators who can help and guide you? At the end of the day, they and their community are the ones we are going to collaborate together to create content. They know their community much more than we do.”
Stripes, the menopause wellness brand founded by actress and chief creative officer Naomi Watts, is among the brands MG Empower has continued to apply the co-creation model to.
“We did the same process as with Purecane,” Genovese said. “But the difference was that menopause is still a very taboo subject. And that’s what Naomi wanted to disrupt in the market. She thought about how to create a brand where women will feel confident to talk about menopause, and create and empower a community to talk about it. And that’s what we did. We co-created Stripes from the beginning and the brand is doing really well today.”
In fact, Stripes has made such an impact that Ad Age named it one of the Hottest Brands of 2023.