Sephora promotes inclusivity with ‘We Belong to Something Beautiful’

Who: Sephora Canada and Virtue Worldwide.

What: “We Belong to Something Beautiful,” a multi-media campaign celebrating diversity and inclusion. Its basic premise: There is no singular expression of beauty.

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When & Where: The campaign, which launched in the U.S. last month, is built around what Sephora calls “hyper-local” executions featuring 11 Canadians (with a first wave of four from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). The campaign is running on billboards and transit shelters, as well as across cinema, social media and experiential channels. It also marks Sephora’s first time using TV advertising. A second wave of ads featuring four new collaborators will debut in August, accompanied by what the company describes as a “complementary theme.”

Why: Diversity has become something of a touchstone for Sephora, which has a stated goal of creating a space where diversity is celebrated and self-expression is honoured. “You are the epitome of beauty and beauty is you,” the company says.

Sephora Canada recently introduced a program called “Classes for Confidence,” beauty classes for people in transition, for example.

There have been some blunders along the way, however. It received some negative attention earlier this year when singer SZA said that she was racially profiled inside a California Sephora store. That led the company to close its U.S. stores for an hour earlier this month to conduct diversity training with its staff.

How: The campaign places a spotlight on the personal journey taken by each of the 11 collaborators. A 30-second anthem spot featuring the first four collaborators is an affirmation of individuality and self-belief.

A voiceover says they have repeatedly been told by society that they’re not enough, or perhaps too much, but hints at a brighter future. “There is a world that wants us…to live our truth,” it states. “Our differences connect us. Empower us. We belong… exactly the way we are. We belong to something beautiful.”

And we quote: “Inclusion is at the core of our new campaign as we embrace and honour the personal journey of each collaborator. It was important for us to bring to the forefront authentic stories that will spark dialogue and open up the definition of beauty for Canadians, because at Sephora we believe that beauty is living your truth. We hope to inspire and drive change as we look to celebrate our differences that make us so uniquely and unapologetically Canadian.”—Deborah Neff, vice-president of marketing, Sephora Canada.

Chris Powell