How Brave Bison Made Wildly Successful Campaigns for Beauty Brands

By Linda Freund · July 19, 2019

How Brave Bison Made Wildly Successful Campaigns for Beauty Brands

Today’s social video feeds are flush with beauty content, from skincare product hauls to make-up tutorials promising seductive eyes, full lips, and skin that sings. And beauty creators are caking on the views! In 2018, more than 4.5M beauty brands and influencers garnered 53B views across platforms.

With so much content, how do beauty brands break through the noise and really connect with their viewers? Social video publisher Brave Bison has a battle-tested approach: forego scripted advertisements and partner brands with influencers to create authentic content.

Related Read: These Male Beauty Influencers Are Killing It

Read on for a breakdown of Brave Bison’s top branded beauty campaigns. The takeaways we share here are timeless and can be adopted by brands looking to revamp their beauty content regimen.

The Why: Help Beauty Brands Captivate Distracted Consumers

In the past few years, Brave Bison teamed up with Proctor & Gamble’s skincare brand SK-II and Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear to produce candid documentaries starring celebrity influencers and the groundbreaking online reality show Beauty Bound Asia.

Initially, these top beauty brands were investing in paid, scripted media, but they weren’t effectively engaging their key demographics, according to Brave Bison.

This foray into original content changed all that, ushering in millions of views and organic engagements in top Asian markets.

The How: Brave Bison’s Rocket Fuel? Storytelling with Purpose.

Everyone loves a good story and Brave Bison, the 7th most-watched media property in the world, consistently delivers. But today’s viewers want even more.

Audiences are demanding content that is “purpose-driven and relatable,” said Brave Bison’s Chief Revenue Officer, Simon George in a recent chat with Tubular.

Brave Bison’s top three branded beauty campaigns heed this call. Most of today’s beauty content revolves around the products themselves.

Brave Bison’s videos, however, pivot away from beauty products to focus instead on the ambitious women who use them.

The What: Brave Bison’s Top Three Campaigns for Beauty Brands

SK-II’s Beauty Bound Asia

Overview: Brave Bison helped luxury skincare brand SK-II create Beauty Bound Asia, an online reality series to find Asia’s next top beauty creator.

Sixty-four contestants, drawn from popular online beauty influencers across Asia, competed in beauty boot camps across eight countries: Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Finally, eight finalists represented their home countries in the Beauty Bound Asia finals in Japan. The contestants were tested in multiple beauty challenges. In one instance they produced unboxing videos. In another, they showcased the before and after results of specific SK-II lotion (a natural product plug).

During the series, Brave Bison also recruited top beauty influencers worldwide to mentor the women as they competed, further increasing reach. Audiences voted live, and judges, including global fashion diva Chiara Ferragni and Thai model Cindy Sirnya Bishop, weighed in.

This multi-influencer format ran for two successful seasons (in 2015 and 2017) with the tagline #changedestiny, aimed at empowering local creators to defy odds and reshape the beauty sector.

The numbers:

  • The campaign raked in 25M views across all Beauty Bound videos on YouTube.
  • The second season, which ran in early 2017, drew 62.1K new subscribers to SK-11’s YouTube channels.
  • SK-II created a specialty YouTube account for the show called Beauty Bound Asia, which has gotten 46.6K views to date. Greater success was found with videos directly integrated into SK-11’s regional social feeds where they were captioned in local languages.
  • In 2017, the total views on SK-II YouTube channels grew by more than 250% from the year prior from 112M views in 2016 to 289M views in 2017.

Takeaway: Challenge-themed videos are always a draw for audiences on social-video feeds. Mix in a competition that pits emerging influencers from multiple countries against each other…. That’s an instant recipe for success!

This project is ambitious, though the idea is simple and easily replicable. Brands can implement this multi-influencer competition format on smaller scales (for example, for specific face-offs with associated hashtags).

The key is to create a video set-up where audiences actively vote on the outcome, thereby increasing engagements.

SK-II’s One Bottle Away From Campaign

Overview: In the summer of 2017, Brave Bison produced the One Bottle Away From documentary series to promote SK-11’s Facial Treatment Essence skincare product.

The videos follow three celebrity influencers as they confront major milestones:

  • In Los Angeles, they traced Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo’s journey from runway star to new mom.
  • In South Korea, they featured K-Pop star Choi SooYoung, as she breaks away from her girl band to explore new opportunities.
  • And, in China, they followed Li Qin’s transformation into a big-screen actress.

Each celebrity is shown using one bottle of the product as part of their daily routine, amid raw accounts of their struggles and victories. The aim: to show-not-tell how the skincare regime helps build an influential woman’s “confidence to achieve life’s ambitions,” according to Brave Bison.

The Numbers:

  • The campaign was pushed out on multiple platforms (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter).
  • Campaign videos published with the #onebottleawayfrom hashtag garnered 94.1M views on YouTube, averaging about 1.9M views per video.
  • The campaign earned 22.3M views on Facebook and 10.4M on Twitter.
  • The videos drew in high organic engagements: 234K on Facebook, 68.6K on YouTube, and 33K on Twitter.
  • The videos were published across 21 YouTube accounts, including SK-II’s regional channels as well as each influencer’s individual social feeds.
  • The highest-performing video featured supermodel Behati Prinsloo (captioned in Japanese) for the YouTube SK-II Japan channel (24.2M views).

Takeaway: SK-11 had recruited celebrities in the past for scripted commercials, but this time Brave Bison encouraged them to let the celebrities tell their own stories. Beauty brands would benefit from following this model.

Short documentaries that seamlessly integrate your products into daily life are an optimal way to connect with audiences, particularly millennials who tend to dislike direct selling.

But the key is to feature stories that are both personal, yet easily universalized. In this case, the location was also crucial.

Beauty brands’ videos should take influencers out of their perfectly-lit studios and enter their homes, favorite bars, and friend circles. In other words, show how and where a woman’s beauty shines most.

Clean & Clear’s ‘Every Skin Color Glows’ Campaign

Overview: In October 2017, Brave Bison teamed up with Johnson & Johnson skincare brand Clean & Clear to create an advocacy video campaign that combats the idea that fairer skin is best, a prevalent perspective in India. The product was Clean & Clear natural bright face wash.

Brave Bison recruited India influencer Sejal Kumar to create an advocacy video about skin discrimination. What followed were intimate conversations between Sejal and other Indian teenagers about hurtful things they’d been told.

Some were called black as coal, others told they were too dark to find a husband. The campaign’s overarching message: “no matter what the color, every skin glows.”

The Numbers: 

  • Influencer Sejal Kumar’s YouTube channel has 1.1M subscribers.
  • The campaign documentary garnered 231K views and 15.2K engagements. 
  • A behind-the-scenes vlog earned 283K views and 7,626 engagements.

Takeaway: This campaign helped Clean & Clear establish a unique brand voice in its target Indian market. In this case, video is a vehicle that gives the face-wash product greater purpose beyond its ingredients, namely as an emblem of bodily acceptance.

Brands would benefit from taking on a social cause specific to the region they are working to reach. The campaign can then be positioned to live on long after the videos are published, giving them a longer shelf life. These can be revisited or reposted as a news cycle merits.

Equally notable is the power of behind-the-scenes influencer videos. By connecting with a young Indian influencer, Clean & Clear directly reached a key younger demographic in the Indian market.

And in this case, Sejal’s personal video actually earned more views than the main campaign one! Clearly, when partnering with influencers, it’s best to leverage this genre as much as possible.

Beauty Brands’ Videos Are Not Only Skin Deep

The common thread between these branded campaigns is authenticity, a piercing of the beauty veil.

Through influencer collaborations and real-life encounters, the ensuing videos showcase a fuller beauty — one that resonates both inside and out.

Related Read: What Beauty Brands Can Learn from L’Oréal’s Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns

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