Thursday, September 29, 2022

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    Cetaphil’s new global campaign adds some sex appeal with ‘We do skin, you do you’

    The 75-year-old brand pushes the message that healthy skin leads to a more engaged life, even in the bedroom.

    Your skin isn’t only your body’s largest organ – it’s also the interface between you and the wider world, your most intimate point of contact with objects and other people. When your skin is healthy, you’re therefore able to move through the world with more confidence and ease. 

    This is the theme underlying Cetaphil’s new global campaign, titled ‘We do skin, you do you.’ The effort, spearheaded by Deutsch NY, highlights the feeling of confidence that can occur as a byproduct of maintaining healthy skin. In a series of TV and social media spots, the campaign targets women with sensitive skin. (Women comprise around 70% of the brand’s buyers.)

    “When we did research, in almost every region, what we got back from women was that sensitive skin was literally holding them back from living their life,” says Tyler Helms, executive vice-president, group account director at Deutsch NY. “They weren’t able to do the things they wanted to do because of their skin. That was a big deal ... so we translated that creatively ... We’re not gonna save your life and solve every problem, but we are gonna help you live a life that’s more full and help you do more things that you maybe weren’t doing before.”

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    The campaign’s new video spots open with a question: “What can you do with sensitive skin?” We’re then taken through a series of shots of women, all looking happy and healthy, who are engaging in activities – such as yoga, trying on sweaters and kickboxing – that can both take a toll on skin and can quickly become uncomfortable without adequate skincare. Whereas traditional skincare ads tend to feature close-ups of models, the production team behind the new Cetaphil campaign opted to show women participating in everyday, relatable activities out in the world. 

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    “We wanted to feature women who made you feel like they were your friends,” says Liz Gumbinner, executive vice-president, executive creative director at Deutsch NY. “They were out living life, and they’re captured in the moment doing whatever it is that they do that makes them feel like them. I was not about perfect skin. We cast a really diverse group of women, not because they had perfect skin, but because they exuded the energy that we wanted the campaign to represent. They exuded feeling free in their skin.”

    The new Cetaphil ads also feature some light sex appeal. In one scene, for example, we see a woman’s legs emerging from beneath a bedsheet, right next to a man’s. Another scene shows a man and a woman making out on a staircase, and yet another shows a heterosexual couple sitting at opposite ends of a bathtub. (Some regions, such as Saudi Arabia and China, will not see the sexual scenes.) This is another domain in which the new ads deviate from the norms of skincare marketing; while not totally sexless, traditional skincare ads tend to be a little more implicit in their sexual innuendos and imagery. 

    Cetaphil, owned by the pharmaceutical company Galderma, was first created in 1947. “We’ve dedicated over 75 years to intimately understanding the unique needs of sensitive skin with the consumers at the heart of all we do,” Jerome Brathwaite, Cetaphil’s global brand equity leader, said in a statement. “Our new, bold campaign highlights true and relatable sensitive skin moments and demonstrates how Cetaphil helps to remove boundaries, empowering consumers to engage freely with the world on their own terms.”

    The new campaign launched earlier this month in the US and will be rolled out globally in phases through early 2023.


    Deutsch New York


    Chief creative officer: Samira Ansari

    EVP executive creative director: Liz Gumbinner

    EVP head of art and design: Melatan Riden

    Integrated Production

    EVP head of integrated production: Miriam Franklin

    SVP associate head of integrated production/studio: Sarah Manna

    Senior producer: Hannah Kessler

    Producer: Matt Onorato

    Print producer: Melissa Betancur

    Senior retoucher: Alice Mazorra

    Account Planning

    SVP group planning director: Michelle Rowley

    Senior strategist: Caroline Jordan

    Director of digital strategy: Alexis Madison

    Account Management 

    EVP group account director: Tyler Helms

    Account executive: Lindsey Moy

    Business Affairs

    Associate business affairs manager: Abigail Donoghue

    Production company: Spark & Riot 

    Director: Elisha Smith Leverock

    Editorial: Final Cut NY

    Telecine: Electric Theatre Collective

    Visual Effects/Animation/Finishing: Electric Theatre Collective

    Music/Licensed music tracks: Machine Sound 

    Audio post: Machine Sound 

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