Campaign Trail is our analysis of some of the best new creative efforts from the marketing world. View past columns in the archives here.
For several years, skincare and beauty brands have worked to include more realistic depictions of human bodies in their campaigns, a purpose-driven way to affect real change and undo years-old stereotypes that have been driven in part by advertising.
In the women's shaving space, that push has meant ads that show actual body hair — a departure from years of ads featuring women shaving already hairless legs. It's not unusual for these ads to show leg hair, armpit hair and — largely thanks to DTC innovator Billie — pubic hair.
For skincare brand Eos ("Evolution of Smooth"), that kind of normalization is good, but doesn't go far enough. With this summer's "Shaving Skincare for Anyone & Anywhere" campaign, Eos is rethinking the why and where of women's shaving with funny campaign spots and eye-catching out-of-home ads. The campaign was inspired by the insight that consumers were already using Eos shaving products all over their bodies, a fact that the brand chose to highlight and celebrate.
"That really felt like a point of differentiation for us as a brand and really centered on a product truth: this product is something that is so good for your skin that you can use it on any skin, anywhere on your body," said Eos CMO Soyoung Kang.
Both universal and specific
Crafted in partnership with agency-of-record Mischief @ No Fixed Address, the Eos campaign uses two different channels and approaches to normalize shaving beyond the places usually highlighted in advertising.
Three 30-second digital spots feature women preparing for different special occasions — before a date with a weird suitor, a dinner at "a restaurant with two dollar signs," and a job interview — with footage of them shaving. The spots were inspired by the connection between the extra special moments in life with a desire to feel extra smooth, explained Bianca Guimaraes, partner and executive creative director at Mischief.
"We wanted them to romanticize the moments where you're shaving and make that feel like a ritual," she said. "We go through it, we spend time doing it, and thoughts are going on in our heads while we're doing it."
The spots contrast hazy, soft-focus fantasies with footage of the women shaving legs and armpits but also upper lips and belly buttons. So while the special occasions appear as humorous, stylized versions, the shaving is of real hair and real bodies.
"The end result created this really great and smart juxtaposition between relatability and authenticity," Kang said.
Along with the online videos, the campaign includes out-of-home ads such as subways wraps and wild-postings in New York and Chicago. The bold, straightforward ads are emblazoned with phrases like "Your mom has a mustache" and "Your cycle instructor has sideburns" that pair everyday people with slang like "treasure trail" and "butt fluff." The ads have the same juxtaposition of relatability and authenticity as the videos, with an extra dose of humor and intrigue.
"From a creative standpoint, we wanted to keep it simple visually and really drive home the idea that we all shave those parts [and] we have to go through the same process to pretend we don't have them," Guimaraes said.
While also attention-grabbing, copy that says "toe toupée" instead of "toe hair" and "hooha hair" instead of "pubic hair" looks to underscore the campaign's message and the brand's focus on real people.
"Body hair is a great unifier. It's very universal. Leaning into that aspect, but in a humorous way, was the really genius idea in the out-of-home," Kang said. "The universality of body hair … very much reinforces the equity that we're trying to project as a brand, but does it in a way that captures your attention with the humor."
Riding a wave of growth
For Eos, the "Shaving Skincare for Anyone & Anywhere" campaign is a way to build on the success of its shave business, a formerly small part of its portfolio which "exploded" last year, growing by double digits and continuing to grow at a similar rate this year, according to Kang. The brand attributed some of that growth to organic, viral TikTok content that it was able to take advantage of.
In 2020, social listening data showed Eos that consumers were using their shaving cream on their pubic areas, even though the product wasn't technically approved for such use; the brand immediately initiated R&D testing to get gynecologically approval. Then in 2021, TikToker Carly Joy posted — using explicit language — about how she used Eos shave cream to "bless" her vagina, which went viral. The brand capitalized, partnering with Joy and putting her not-safe-for-work verbiage on its packaging. The results point to the enduring power for brands of partnering with influencers.
"With our partners at Mischief, we leaned in within days, trusting our gut instinct that the authenticity, humor and pure educational value of Carly Joy’s TikTok were a marketer’s dream and that she would be the perfect partner for our brand," Kang added via email. "Our team moved with purpose, speed, and boldness to capitalize on a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity, and the result was phenomenal growth for our business and our brand."