Sephora leans into clean

The personal-care retailer is looking to solidify its leadership in better-for-you beauty.

Sephora Canada wants to be a leader in “clean beauty,” highlighting its purpose driven differentiator.

To drive broader awareness of its clean beauty offering, Sephora Canada is launching a national campaign to amplify its “Clean You Can Count On” video spots, emphasizing that its mandate covers more than simply listing what ingredients aren’t in its products.

The 00:15 and 00:30 videos originally aired in the U.S. earlier this year, but are now being amplified by top-of-funnel paid media support for the first time in Canada across traditional TV, VOD, OLV and paid social.

According to Allison Litzinger, recently appointed senior VP of marketing at Sephora Canada, the company has observed strong consumer interest in and curiosity about the clean beauty space, which it sees as a growth area.

Her mandate in the new role, she says, is spreading the word that Sephora is a beauty destination through its meaningful purpose and differentiators.

“With this campaign, we hope to solidify our [clean products] leadership and authority even further, using mass channels to drive dedicated, national awareness of our best-in-class clean offering,” Litzinger explains, adding that with the campaign, it’s also looking to reinforce that by using clean beauty, you are not sacrificing performance, which is a common misconception.

Litzinger tells strategy that the U.S. campaign work resonated with Canadian audiences and speaks to ongoing consumer interests in the clean beauty space. Therefore, it kept the creative messaging consistent for Canada and the U.S.

Litzinger says TV is a platform that it has historically only focused on during the holiday period, and the last time Sephora was in market in TV outside of this was with its local 2019 brand campaign, “We Belong to Something Beautiful.” It’s back in order increase widespread visibility, and to highlight that the clean proposition is a key differentiator.

“For this campaign, we wanted to balance TV and digital, two channels that provide mass reach, while also allowing for narrower and more strategic targeting,” Litzinger says. Investment in top-of-funnel marketing is part of Sephora’s new strategic approach to drive broad awareness of its differentiators – an approach that it plans to maintain and evolve.

Sephora Canada’s Clean journey positioning began back in 2018, when it established the Clean at Sephora program. Its Clean at Sephora seal is bestowed on brands that make products formulated without harmful ingredients.

In 2021, the retailer launched Clean + Planet Positive, the next evolution of the Clean at Sephora seal, representing a group of ambitious clean brands with a focus on sustainability. To qualify as Clean + Planet Positive, brands must meet strict standards in five priority areas such as clean ingredients, climate commitment, responsible packaging, sustainable sourcing and environmental action.

The current campaign represents a significant increase in ad spend when compared to past product-focused Clean campaigns, which have been exclusively digital, Litzinger says.

The “Clean You Can Count On” campaign was developed by the creative team at R/GA, with paid media executed by dentsuX and SephoraONE, a Publicis agency, and will air until early September across English Canada. PR support is by Middle Child.