Cetaphil plans to be unavoidable this year, starting with a multi-pronged NYFW campaign.
For the 76-year-old skin-care brand, the campaign concept is to show how stressful working or participating in NYFW can be on sensitive skin and how Cetaphil is the perfect go-to item to help combat irritation. Cetaphil was the skin-care sponsor for the Marc Jacobs show on February 2, and it will sponsor the Alice & Olivia presentation on February 10. At the latter, the brand will have a backstage presence with a skin-care expert on-site to help prep the models’ skin before their makeup application. Other campaign activations include a partnership with media company Highsnobiety at Chillhouse in SoHo on February 10 — media, influencers and consumers are invited to enjoy manicures and mini facials. Cetaphil has also invited approximately 30 influencers representing 14 countries to join for various events and shows.
“We know, by talking to our consumers, that Cetaphil is seen a little bit like a wallflower. We had the idea of stepping onto a big stage, and that’s how this fashion week idea came to be,” said Luis Garcia, vp and head of marketing in the U.S. at Cetaphil’s parent company Galderma. “This is a moment where skin is put to the test.”
Cetaphil does not release sales figures, but Galderma’s latest publicly shared financials for its fiscal year 2022 state that its “dermatological skincare” category grew sales year-over-year by 30.7%. The growth was owed to consumer demand, new launches, channel expansion and a particularly robust e-commerce performance.
Cetaphil has nearly 100% brand awareness in the U.S., according to Tara Loftis, global president of Cetaphil. Yet, 2022-2023 was a pivot period in which the brand moved away from talking about products to speaking about the overall brand. For example, Loftis said a brand equity campaign launched in 2022 called “We do skin, you do you” brought together dermatologists, makeup artists and influencers, and marked “a new era” for Cetaphil. That includes reinvigorating its relationships with dermatologists and diving deeper into the influencer space. The NYFW campaign is notably called “We do skin, you do fashion.”
“This year, Cetaphil will become completely unavoidable,” said Loftis. “From a strategic standpoint, New York Fashion Week is a cultural phenomenon with worldwide appeal. We always seek strategies that appeal to many regions or cities.”
NYFW also overlaps with Cetaphil’s Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha customers’ interest in fashion. According to Euromonitor, Gen Z and Gen Alpha will account for 45% of the global population by 2030 and will be luxury and fashion brands’ most significant target segment. In Feb. 2023, Cetaphil tested an NYFW activation, with designer Collina Strada. There, Cetaphil had a paid partnership to sponsor the fashion show and spotlight the connection between skin irritation and fabric on-sitel. Cetaphil has also distributed 90,000 samples of its Moisturizing Cream through Rent the Runway.
At this season’s NYFW, product sampling will be available through backstage events, the Chillhouse pop-up and gifting to influencers.
To seize upon the NYFW moments, Cetaphil will rely on its public relations and influencer partners to amplify post-event coverage. Rather than looking at how Cetaphil’s efforts perform compared to its competitors, the brand looks at how NYFW benchmarks against Cetaphil’s past campaigns based on social media impressions and earned media value.
“We can’t be complacent when we have this high brand awareness,” said Loftis. “We can’t take it for granted, and we have to nurture it through engaging with relevant pop culture moments, knowing our consumer and showing up where they are in their day-to-day lives. That is through media, influencers, paid partnerships and in-store [merchandising].”