Restylane’s real women

Aging is a touchy subject, especially for women. So Toronto-based Medicis Aesthetics Canada has launched a hands-off social networking community,, for women 35-55 to discuss their attitudes about aging, without overt branding.

Aging is a touchy subject, especially for women. So Toronto-based Medicis Aesthetics Canada has launched a hands-off social networking community,, for women 35-55 to discuss their attitudes about aging, without overt branding.

‘It’s not a product-focused site at all,’ explains Catharine Fennell, partner at Toronto-based agency SwingThink. ‘It’s about market research and sponsoring a dialogue…. We wanted to capture the mind-set of women approaching these milestone ages.’

The site includes webisodes featuring real women (not actors) expressing their feelings about aging, a blog to generate discussion about the webisodes, a contest inviting women to submit their own videos discussing aging, and an opportunity to sign up for a newsletter with updates about the webisodes. There’s a small link to Medicis Aesthetics’ Restylane cosmetic injection brand at the bottom of the site, but other than that there’s no branding.

Within the first two weeks of its launch, 30,000 Canadian women had visited

We asked Monica Buck, MD at Tribal DDB Vancouver; Brendan Kenalty, director, interactive strategy at Toronto-based OgilvyOne Canada; and Eli Singer, MD at Toronto-based Social POV, Cundari, to weigh in on whether this social site will stick.


MB: I really like the concept of creating a space where you can connect with your peers on a subject that is sensitive or typically perceived in a negative way. Peer-to-peer communication can be very compelling, particularly if you find [a topic] we all know (or worry about) but never discuss.

BK: While it has all the latest tools, the site comes up very flat vs. ones like Dove which offer a clear value proposition. offers no insightful, interesting or engaging reason to visit the first time, join the community or participate.

ES: Full concept marks. Convening stories through video, blogging, photos, subtly linking in the brand and CRM plus a twist of market research – this is what the web is all about.


MB: I like the use of real people (rather than actors), but feel the site needs a more positive and empowering message about aging. Most of the comments reflect the negative aspects, but do not reveal the solutions.

BK: While the design is clean and simple with no heavy company branding (a common flaw), providing clear navigation to a robust assortment of community-building tools and opt-ins (blogs/videos/polls…), it feels like a ‘build it and they will come’ type of exercise with only modest content seeding. I’m not sure what the insight or value proposition is.

ES: It raises the right questions in a frank and personal way, but it seems to stop there. Two missed opportunities: creating more avenues for conversation with visitors, and a strong link back to the Restylane site. Brands should not be too shy about linking themselves with quality content.


MB: The videos are well put-together; they include a good range of ages, feature real people, and are short enough in length to keep them interesting.

BK: A great idea with poor execution. The videos are boring and uninspired. A quick search of YouTube will likely find a far broader and richer set of videos on the same subject. Why not just link to them, then spur a conversation on that topic or POV on the site? That would probably result in higher engagement and definitely a higher ROI for the company on the overall program. I do like that they have outbound triggers to draw the consumer back to the site to view the latest [updates], versus hoping they will remember to return on their own.

ES: If the window were larger, the videos would feel much more personal and compelling. The pre-established webisode topics make the site feel less responsive to user feedback.


MB: The users create the value here, so they will need to have compelling topics for discussion and a reason to come back. I would suggest changing the name (in the navigation) from ‘blog’ to something that will engage the user – the blog is the medium, it’s not the reason to click on it.

BK: This feels forced and uncontroversial. All of the content is posted by ‘the administrator’ versus having a personality who is offering an invitation to a discussion with them and others in the community with differing POVs.

ES: Posts should be by someone, not ‘admin,’ and use imagery to add colour to the site.

The creds

Client – Medicis Aesthetics Canada

Manny Kapur, executive director; Alan Chan, associate director of marketing; Gene Smith, senior marketing co-ordinator

Agency – SwingThink

Catharine Fennell, partner, program concept and strategy, casting and CD; Jennifer Evans, partner, online community design and specialist; Alison Rockwell, account director and community moderator; Karla Goldstein, online public, blog and podcaster relations; Neil Oliver, project manager; Linda Brennan, online production

Interactive Marketing – Elsevier Interactive Solutions

Colleen Doiron, account manager; Kevin Krossing, VP client services; Aaron Wolski, e-marketing and web

analytics specialist