Sephora plays the storyteller for Lunar New Year

The cosmetics retailer draws upon lessons from its Diwali campaign to bring a personal touch to its multicultural marketing.

It is now in its fifth year, but Sephora is evolving its approach for this year’s Lunar New Year campaign, focusing on telling the stories of East Asian Canadians in recognition of the role those stories can play in multicultural marketing.

“We wanted to bring the spirit of Lunar New Year to life and show how East Asians in Canada are celebrating,” says Deborah Neff, Sephora Canada’s SVP of marketing. “It’s super important to us to showcase how they’re celebrating this year, given the travel bans and restrictions in place.”

To tell their stories, Sephora has partnered with Canadian influencers Brigitte Truong and Angel Zheng, who will be featured on the cosmetic retailer’s social media channels to share what Lunar New Year means to them. The campaign also showcases five East Asian Canadian Sephora beauty advisors, Neff says, allowing them to tell stories that focus more on how they are about to celebrate while still dealing with restrictions related to the pandemic.

Though this is the fifth time Sephora has done a Lunar New Year campaign, it is highly reminiscent of a Diwali celebration last fall, which also featured Canadian influencers and gave them a platform to tell their stories.

“That got greater recognition than I think we were even anticipating. It was honestly beautiful and well-shot, and the stories came to life in a great way,” says Neff. “I think that confirmed that we needed to do more of this and share stories that resonate and find those moments to talk to our client base.”

As was the case with Diwali, she adds, it’s important for Sephora to speak to the East Asian community – and the company’s sizeable East Asian clientele – about a cultural event that is significant to them, while helping them share that event and its story with Sephora’s larger customer base.

While in the past Sephora has featured collaborators in Singapore as well as Canada, this year it stuck strictly with Canadians, which Neff says was part of the campaign’s evolution.

“Showing actual, Canadian representation is important. Our goal is to drive inclusivity, and you can’t drive inclusivity if you don’t show representation,” she says. “We have a bigger purpose than just driving sales, and it’s to bring education and, with education, knowledge. Knowledge can help break down some of the biases that might exist, and that’s the intent.”

In addition to its work with influencers, the retailer is making limited edition Lunar New Year products from brands such as Dyson, Armani, and Laneige available for sale online and in select stores, as well as offering custom Lunar New Year gift cards and promotions.

While creative for the campaign was handled internally, The Colony Project is handling the PR as Sephora Canada’s AOR.