Cheekbone gives a platform to Indigenous success

The cosmetics brand worked with a host of Indigenous leaders to show what happens when they are given control of their story.

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Cheekbone Beauty is looking to showcase the power of mainstream representation and what it means for Indigenous people in its new campaign.

“Right The Story” was developed with creative agency Sid Lee in partnership with numerous Indigenous creators and public figures. It aims to put the stories of an often underrepresented group within Canada directly into the mainstream.

The campaign centres on a 90-second film that features poetry from Indigenous creator Zoey Roy, recited over scenes of a gathering of friends. The poetry strongly references the central themes of the campaign: taking back the narrative surrounding Canada’s Indigenous people, correcting historic inaccuracies and addressing cultural biases and stereotypes and, most importantly, giving Indigenous people control over their own story after decades of it being handled by non-Indigenous people.

In addition to that spot, there are OOH and social media integrations featuring Indigenous role models from across Canada that include Anishinaabe clean water advocate Autumn Peltier; Ravyn Wngz, a co-founder of BLM Canada and a representative of the LGBTQ2S+ community within that organization; Quannah Chasinghorse, an Indigenous model and climate activist; and Dr. Nadine Caron, the first female First Nations general surgeon in Canada and an advocate for Indigenous rights in healthcare.

By showcasing how Indigenous people are excelling in various disciplines, Cheekbone is looking to demonstrate “what we’re capable of,” says Jenn Harper, founder and CEO of the cosmetics brand.

“When our kids see themselves doing things like creating a brand like Cheekbone, or leading like all of the people represented on this platform, it’s so important and powerful,” she adds.

In September, Sid Lee and Cheekbone worked together on a packaging redesign ahead of the brand’s launch into Sephora. Like the new campaign, Cheekbone’s role as an Indigenous-owned business was used to show the strength the comes from Indigenous communities that the rest of Canada might not have been familiar with – in this case, as stewards of the environment and sustainability. The brand’s social marketing has regularly featured education about things like words in Indigenous languages, or principles the Anishinaabe have passed down to live peaceful lives with one another.

The “Right The Story” campaign was first hinted at over the summer, when it was selected as the winner of the first IDEA Award, receiving $1 million in ad inventory from Bell Media to support its eventual launch.