A new campaign from French beauty retailer Sephora charts a woman's relationship with her appearance, from girlhood until she becomes an older woman.
The campaign by BETC Paris, aims to highlight the "evolving" nature of beauty and what it means, starting with an extended-length spot directed by Jonas Lindstroem via Iconoclast.
Set to a cover of "I'm Not in Love" by Kelsey Lu, it opens on the protagonist as a little girl in 2001, trying on her mother's makeup, and takes us through her girlhood, adolescence and womanhood. As she grows up, we hear about her changing relationship with her looks. She wonders about her freckles or why she doesn't look like her friends, goes through relationship breakups, experiments with new looks and worries about aging. It finishes with her a a mature woman in 2053, finally happy with her appearance and herself.
The production involved a lengthy casting process to depict the woman at all ages, according to Charlotte Marmion, producer at Iconoclast. She says the team specifically want to cast a woman of color or of mixed race and briefed the team to look for "interesting" faces, a task which proved challenging since non-white actresses and models are "clearly underrepresented," especially in Europe. The team searched all over the world, including London, Paris, Barcelona, New York and Los Angeles.
"The director and his assistant started to select girls and women they liked placing them in lines with a selection of faces with similar features at different ages," she adds. "We ended up with a lot of lines with different options, but there was one line which appeared to be much stronger than the others and that became the one. We were only missing the elder woman, so we really had to push and ended up finding this singer/artist in L.A. who was perfect."
In order to ensure continuity, the team also replicated certain features such as freckles, used wigs and changed eye color in post. The campaign also includes print executions by Nadine Ijewere, a British photographer, which emphasize Sephora's different departments (perfume, make-up, skin care) while carrying the same message.
The campaign will run in cinema, TV, press, billboards, digital media and point of sale in European and Middle Eastern countries.
"The Unlimited Power of Beauty touches people's hearts because it shows what the power of beauty can create in everyone," said Lisa Attia, Sephora SVP Merchandising and Image EME, in a statement. "It is also an inspiring campaign and brand position for all Sehpora's employees—a way to feel invested in a community far beyond sales and performance. "