3 x Brands smashing conventions through tone-of-voice

Stepping out of my social feed (momentarily), where multi-dimensional gender chat is the new-norm, I can’t help but think our industry is lagging embarrassingly behind.  

And whilst awards like the Cannes Glass Lion, which celebrate campaigns that tackle gender inequality, have been introduced, still, the language around female centred campaigns feel somewhat out-dated and downbeat - portraying women as victims or that their only hope for survival is becoming part of a #squad or a #girlgang.  

Women aren’t looking for brands to make them feel better, but instead to feel understood.  

So, when luxury Japanese skincare brand, SK-II, tasked us with creating a limited edition trio for their holy grail Facial Treatment Essence (FTE), we knew that talking to women, like women, was the way to go…  

1. SK-II

Building on their #ChangeDestiny platform, SK-II briefed us to create a limited edition trio that spoke to the hearts and minds of the young, Asian millennial.  

With 16-step skincare regimes, a competitive job market where clear skin features top of resume, and the heart-breaking marriage markets for the ‘leftover women’ of China, approaching the conversation around skincare with this audience is often very bleak.  

We knew our Asian consumers were ready for skincare liberation, so we led with three bold statements of empowerment – ‘Change is in all of us’, ‘Destiny is a matter of choice’ and ‘Be the person you decide to be’ – sitting front and centre on pack.  

Some 31% of Chinese consumers aged 20-49 think that the word ‘individuality’ defines luxury (Mintel). We listened and decided to give consumers the chance to select the pack that best reflects their own personal mantra and beauty beliefs.  

“It was an honor to unveil what I believe is the most dramatic makeover yet, the new SK-II Limited Edition bottles dedicated to women who define their own destinies. The idea that each of us has the power to shape our own path is one that I have embraced personally and professionally.” - Cate Blanchett, SKII Global Ambassador.  

The three statements have evolved beyond the pack: amplified across physical pop-ups and sitting boldly across the social feeds of our consumers.  

We collaborated with artist Luke Choice, whose expressive style brought the no-rules individuality and confidence of the statements to life – breaking the homogeneous category conventions of luxury skincare to speak to a new, younger consumer.    


Another brand unafraid to do femvertising right is THINX, who describe themselves as ‘underwear for women with periods’.  

The campaign, through a marriage of convention busting design and unapologetic tone of voice, was created in response to the brand’s survey, where 74% of participants wanted to see a more realistic representation of periods in marketing.  

Predictably, some squeamish media execs have been trying to remove the word ‘period’ from THINX’s advertising. But in contrast, women, the brands exclusive audience, find the straight-talking yet sensitive tone of voice deeply appealing.    

3. Glossier

Skincare and cosmetics brand, Glossier, has cemented itself as the beauty must-have of the year. They define the brand as ‘beauty that is fun, easy, imperfect and personal’ – elements that are embedded in their tone of voice and amplified across packaging, comms and across social activations.  

Having a strong tone of voice doesn’t always mean being brash, loud or shouty. A simple ‘you look good’ is all this pop-up needed.  

Their mantra of, ‘Skin first, make-up second, smile always’, is something Glossier girls can get behind. And with consumers gravitating towards brands who share their point of view on the world, this cult brand is serving up simplified beauty in a bottle.

SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge then get in touch kattowers@lovecreative.com.