Ubaid Zargar

Nykaa's new campaign aims to redefine 'beauty'

Nykaa has launched a new campaign titled #WhatMakesYouBeautiful. Through the campaign, the brand aims to redefine 'beauty'. The campaign film features Laxmi Agarwal, an activist who has survived an acid attack. Here is an overview of the campaign.

In a bid to redefine beauty and curb societal pressures on women, Nykaa has launched a new campaign titled #WhatMakesYouBeautiful. The campaign runs along the lines of causevertisement, making 'outward appearance' the peg of the effort.

Featuring activist Laxmi Agarwal, the campaign includes a three minute film that addresses the conventional definition of the term 'beauty'. Laxmi, who has survived an acid attack, is seen narrating her definition of what it means to be beautiful to viewers. The ad film then gradually fades into a typography which reads 'Make-up doesn't define you'.

The marketing space for cosmetics brands has seen a significant shift in the portrayal of physical beauty. Many reformist ideas have been hurled at the marketing wall, in the hope that some might stick. As a consequence, brands have attempted to tailor their communications in compliance with the new age consumer mindset. For instance, here is Dove's #RealBeauty campaign from the vault. The ad film, besides flaunting a diverse set of models, makes a statement on inclusiveness and acceptance.

In the past, Nykaa has launched multiple campaigns that highlight, or at the very least, address the prevalent definitions of physical beauty - which often unleash undue and unwarranted stress on consumers. Not so long ago, Nykaa in association with Katrina Kaif's Kay Beauty, launched a campaign titled #ItsKayToBeYou. The campaign emphasised how it was absolutely acceptable for women to be themselves, without having to conform to societal expectations on how they look.

In association with Blush, the brand had also launched a campaign titled #CelebrateYou. The campaign included a six minute film titled Qaid, and featured TV actor Aakanksha Singh. The effort was aimed at encouraging people to embrace their true selves and accept themselves for who they are.

We reached out to Nykaa to get the insights on how the campaign was conceived and what went into its execution.

Speaking on the inception of campaign, Madhavi Irani, chief officer, Nykaa Content says, "Makeup is the celebration of a woman's innate beauty, individual to each of us. But we are aware that women can feel a lot of pressure to be a certain kind of beautiful. We created this campaign in an effort to widen the horizons of beauty as we know it."

Pointing out how Laxmi Agarwal was chosen as the face of the campaign, Irani says, "We have always been inspired by strong, exceptional women. Laxmi Agarwal's story, her courage and her tireless determination is truly incredible. She also exuded this transcendental beauty that seemed to defy definition; we saw in Laxmi's voice a reflection of the message we wanted to carry to women everywhere: that you can be any kind of beautiful you want and makeup is simply a tool to celebrate and express yourself with."

Commenting on the challenges faced during the production of campaign film, Irani reckons, "The biggest challenge of course came when we had to actually turn the concept around on shoot. We had intended to showcase a poignant juxtaposition of Laxmi doing her makeover while talking about the many nuanced and intricate traits that make a woman beautiful. However she asked if she could deliver the end without any makeup on, as she believed that would resonate more strongly with her message."

With the new #WhatMakesYouBeautiful campaign, the brand has presented its stance on beauty standards that society has set for women. But, what does it mean for a brand like Nykaa, which is otherwise known for its promotion of make up products? An interesting question, since the campaign film makes it explicitly clear that 'make-up does not define you'.

We reached out to Priti Nair, director, Curry Nation to get her views on the campaign.

Priti Nair
Priti Nair

Speaking about the campaign and its execution, Nair opines, “It is a bold statement for a cosmetic brand to make. Also, the timing is super good. I like the structure. It is challenging when you take a subject like this to deliver a philosophy. Only on the core messaging, though and not the execution of the messaging, which I feel has been done previously by many brands. Dove is the first to pop up. They have built a brand from the beginning with 'love yourself'. And then many brands have dipped into that and done something around it.”

Commenting on the appeal of the campaign, and the perceivable intent behind it, Nair says, “At the end of it, it is all about marketing. It will definitely bring Nykaa to the top of everyone's minds and will also fix it in a positive likeable mind space. It kind of evolves a personality for the brand, which is distinctive from Myntra ,Purplle and their ilk. The brand will come across as caring, soft and warm, as long as they pursue that personality in their communication for a long time.

But is the campaign congruent with what Nykaa stands for, we wondered. Nair suggests, “Currently, the pacy personality of their app promo and this is poles apart. Since it is being done by a cosmetic beauty brand, I would say it is brave and bold, to ask consumers to renounce all the stuff that the brand sells.”

We asked Nair if she thinks there is a need for reform in the advertising space, particularly concerning how beauty is portrayed. She answers, “I think advertising has already started evolving in terms of how they show beauty. For instance, I feel there has been a significant change in showcasing more real looking people than the perfect model types.”