A tale of two vanities

It’s been an interesting month for campaigns related to health and wellbeing. On the one hand, an almost-accidental social campaign centered on the social sharing of non-makeup “selfies” (with a texted donation to Cancer Research and a nomination for friends to do the same) hit the UK almost overnight, with Prince Harry’s girlfriend even taking part. Criticized by some as positioning not-wearing-make-up as “bravery”, the campaign has nonetheless generated over $3m+ almost overnight and captured the imagination and community spirit of the country.


no make up

On the other hand, Weight Watchers Australia has received great praise for its “Awaken Your Incredible” campaign, which aims to tap into the more substantive aspects of self improvement. Noted by some American observers as being “leagues ahead” of the more superficial, body image focused Jessica Simpson campaigns, the campaign included a dedicated digital experience in partnership with Getty which helps you to make your own inspirational “film”.

Interestingly, the TV/digital spots do a decent job of tugging the heart strings. The Getty experience, however, suffers from cheesy stock photography, error prone search results, (a picture of a saw for a “saw my daughter” answer?!) and a clunky user experience, producing a contrived, rather impersonal result (and no clear path to self-improvement, either.)



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The lesson? Authenticity can’t be manufactured. Combining personal accountability, low-barrier tasks, a greater cause and sense of community is powerful for those who may want to help others, but find their time or resources limited. Sharing works best when it’s central to the idea, not an outcome. And, as strategists, brand guides, experience builders, and performance creators, we should focus on tapping into what already exists, then to step back and be OK with letting the energy grow.