Living Proof, the hair-care brand born out of MIT in 2005, is introducing itself to a younger audience with a new campaign and a new celebrity face, Lily Collins. Its new campaign, called ‘We Have Haircare Down to a Science,’ will live across platforms including billboards in NYC and L.A., Instagram and TikTok, Hulu, and print via The New York Times.
It’s a good time for Living Proof, according to CEO Zach Rieken. The brand is benefitting from the coinciding boom of the prestige hair market and the ‘skinification’ of hair. “The business is in a growth phase,” Rieken said. “It feels like a great moment to add some fuel to the fire and get the Living Proof name out to even more consumers.”
The campaign serves as an opportunity for the brand to “retell the Living Proof story and [clarify] what makes it different from all the other brands,” he said. “We were one of the very first prestige hair-care brands over a decade ago; we partnered with retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty to build the category. [Hair care] has gone from being a secondary or tertiary category for a lot of retailers to being a big focus.”
According to the brand, one of the things that makes it unique is, of course, its science. Living Proof “was founded on the principle that we don’t need marketing fluff, or smoke and mirrors,” Rieken said. “We show how our products actually perform through the people who use them. And having a celebrity show that proof is something that’s impactful for our consumers.”
Collins, the star of Netflix’s hit show “Emily in Paris,” has over 26 million followers on Instagram. “What a celebrity spokesperson brings to the table is access to an audience that we may not otherwise have and [the ability] to make the science aspect [of the brand] relatable. [Collins] has reach with a younger audience that wasn’t around when Living Proof launched,” Rieken said.
Collins had used Living Proof before the opportunity to be the face of the brand came her way, she told Glossy — so she proved to be an organic fit for the brand.
She has “emerged in pop culture as a modern muse for healthy, gorgeous hair,” Rieken said. That’s despite “how much work she’s doing and how much she puts her hair through.”
Many consumers associate Living Proof with its first celebrity spokesperson, Jennifer Aniston, who was the face of the brand from 2012-2016.
Collins said she’d heard of the brand from professionals she worked with and that she, too, had recognized it as a brand Aniston had endorsed. “[I thought of] the brand as having this quiet confidence, in that they didn’t need to oversell because they had the science backing them,” Collins said. “And then I used it and loved it. And it smelled great. I was like, ‘Wow, this is a win.'”
Collins will work with the brand for a number of years, though Rieken declined to specify how many. “A brand partnership is like joining a family,” Collins said. She also works with Lancôme and Cartier.
She likened the partnership to filming a movie, where the actual shooting of the movie is “only one part of it.”
“When you sign on to a project, you want to believe in what it is that you’re filming and the story you’re telling,” Collins said. “I look at endorsing a product the same way: It’s one thing to do a shoot. But I want to spend the appropriate amount of time dedicated to then talking about [the product], selling it and doing the other part of the job. So you have to look at what the brand is all about.”
For the brand’s part, it plans to involve Collins in everything from its philanthropic partnership with MIT to its product development taking place in its Boston labs.
“The Living Proof personality or the Living Proof celebrity is a very particular type of person,” Rieken said. “It’s somebody who is aspirational, yet very relatable and not unattainable. We certainly found that with Jennifer Aniston. And we’ve definitely found it in a very modern way, again, with Lily Collins.”