Sephora showcases the many faces of beauty

The cosmetics retailer partners with sixteen Montreal and Toronto locals to support ongoing market intensification efforts.


With the launch of a new summer campaign, Sephora Canada has expanded its market intensification efforts to the Montreal market.

Late last month, the cosmetics retailer launched “#WithSephora,” a campaign that celebrates beauty in its many forms, with the help of sixteen locals from Toronto and Montreal.

The group includes musician Tika (who describes herself as a black, queer-identifying, plus-sized woman) and model and standup comedian Elise Gatschene from Toronto, as well as model and travel enthusiast Grece Ghanem and urban artist Sarahmée from Montreal. Each of them is appearing alongside taglines that fall under four distinct banners: “We Dare,” “We Inspire,” “We Slay,” and “We Explore.”

Creative assets, created by Virtue’s Canadian offices, are appearing on billboards, transit stations and shelters in both municipalities. They are also being promoted on the retailer’s social channels and through experiential activations. Behind-the-scenes videos and a docu-series will also be shared, based on materials collected during the campaign execution.

“We wanted to build the campaign from the ground-up and therefore sought out local individuals with unique talents, passions and influences from the Toronto and Montreal communities,” says Deborah Neff, VP of marketing at Sephora Canada. “Each was chosen because they are inspiring, everyday individuals who help make their city and its culture truly beautiful.”

The brand felt is was important to showcase the many different sides of beauty to “inspire our clients to feel celebrated and empowered,” the marketer says, adding that the four campaign banners were inspired by its collaborators’ feedback and are meant to resonate differently with everyone.

“Through their unique personalities, authentic stories and inspiring journeys, the campaign showcases how with Sephora, you can create your own definition of beauty and express it on a very personal level,” says Neff.

A recent Mintel report  suggested that the meaning of “beauty” has started to shift, and that shoppers have started feeling more confident expressing their individuality as a result. Moreover, the research firm predicted that more consumers would be drawn to brands with “personality and purpose” as a result of the amount of consumer information available online.

The individuals featured in #WithSephora will appear in assets within their home city only. For example, visuals including Elise Gatschene, from Toronto, will be deployed exclusively in the Toronto area. Neff says this strategy was carried through to the creative and production teams, who were also based out of Montreal and Toronto.

Over the past two years, Sephora Canada has focused its market intensification efforts primarily on Toronto, according Neff. But since then, the company has looked to expand its reach in the Quebec market, namely in Montreal.

As part of its intensification efforts in Toronto, the retailer opened a “Beauty TIP Workshop” store (“TIP” meaning “Teach, Inspire, Play”) at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in 2016, bringing more tech and discoverability into its store concept.

The campaign comes around the same time that Calvin McDonald, Sephora CEO of the Americas, prepares to leave the company for a new role as CEO of Vancouver-based Lululemon.