Ulta revamps branding strategy to focus on diversity in beauty
- Ulta unveiled a new campaign, which includes a video featuring a diverse cast of different ages, ethnicities, sizes and genders and the tagline "The Possibilities Are Beautiful," Ad Age reported. The effort replaces an "All Things Beauty, All in One Place" platform launched by the brand in 2015, and aims to redefine how beauty is portrayed.
- The campaign launches with 60-, 30- and 15-second national TV commercials and a 30-second Spanish-language version. Longer spots to run online will include a male makeup artist and male fashion designer. Featuring more realistic images of beauty is part of Ulta's strategy to increase sales and continue to grow its loyalty membership base, which now numbers nearly 30 million and has helped the brand stand out, according to Ad Age.
- The latest campaign is Ulta's first with McCann New York, which it selected for creative duties in November after a four-month review. The retailer tapped MullenLowe's Mediahub for media, and previously worked with Mullen on creative. Ulta recently reported a 15.4% increase in sales to $1.5 billion for Q2 compared with the same period last year.
As the beauty and cosmetics category continues to get more crowded and competitive, Ulta is recognizing that diversity might be a way to create resonance with millennial and Gen Z consumers, who are among the most eclectic generations and tend to favor brands that spotlight diversity in their marketing and advertising.
Featuring male makeup artists shows how Ulta is also recognizing a broader trend, where businesses are rethinking how they market themselves to men to be more inclusive. The company rolling out Spanish-language versions of the new spots might help win over Hispanic consumers as well, who are frequently under-served by marketers and over-index on cause-related purchases.
Younger consumers also show preference for shopping via online channels, which have become a strong sales driver for Ulta. In earnings reported last week, the company said e-commerce sales increased by 37.9% to $132.8 million for the second quarter. Social media and Instagram, specifically, are also helping to bolster interest in beauty products. Beauty consumers spend 80% of their time in the pre-search phase of their purchase journey with multi-platform content, which can trigger their purchases, according a Conde Nast-commissioned study by Tapestry.
Beauty-focused retailers like Ulta are facing stiff competition from newer direct-to-consumer brands like Birchbox, but also big-box retailers and drugstores like Walgreens and CVS, per Ad Age. For example, CVS launched "Beauty in Real Life" in April, its first beauty-focused campaign, which featured unaltered images. The company at the same time introduced new standards for post-production alterations, where photos will include a "CVS Beauty Mark" noting that the image hasn't been touched up.
- AdAge Ulta Beauty highlights diversity in first work from McCann
- Retail Dive Why beauty will continue to rule retail in 2018
- The Independent The rise of gender-neutral beauty