Reese Witherspoon, Elizabeth Arden's storyteller in chief


By any measure Reese Witherspoon’s image would be enough to power a social campaign, especially after her recent Emmy haul for “Big Little Lies.”

But as the storyteller in chief for Elizabeth Arden, Witherspoon and Iced Media, the digital agency behind a new campaign, ventured in a different direction.

“It would have been easy to focus on this A-list celebrity and that’s what you see a lot of brands do when they have a face that is globally recognized,” explained Leslie Hall, president of Iced Media.

But Iced took a deeper dive, using parallels between Witherspoon and Arden as entrepreneurs and champions of women’s rights. “We took those kinship moments,” Hall said.

The campaign kicked off last week across Facebook, YouTube and Instagram with the third installment going live this week. The latter chronicles Arden’s efforts providing suffragettes with red lipstick. Witherspoon’s Instagram kicking it off last week already has more than 579,000 views.

Hall explained the videos dovetail with Elizabeth Arden’s direction as a company to harken back to the brand’s founder and telling her story in a more pronounced way. “We are tapping into that zeitgeist of powerful women and showing some of her firsts in the beauty business.” Arden’s role in the growth of the beauty industry was also put on the front burner in “War Paint” on Broadway.

The video spots use animation and graphic overlays juxtaposed to Witherspoon’s present day first-person narration.

“In creating this campaign, Iced Media believed that our founder’s story, one of a powerful and crusading woman, would resonate with a new generation of beauty-interested consumers,” said Kara Langan, senior vice president of marketing for Elizabeth Arden.

A goal of the campaign is to introduce a new audience to the brand while maintaining existing customers. In particular, Elizabeth Arden has Millennials on its radar, an age group that research shows doesn’t understand the full scope of product assortment. Social listening found that many consumers only associated Elizabeth Arden with a fragrance they buy for their moms on Mother’s Day or the red lipstick their grandmothers wear. In reality, Arden’s portfolio encompasses skin care, makeup and fragrances.

Reese’s storytelling role is just one component of the 107-year-old brand’s plans to restore is luster. To date, it has updated its Ceramide Capsules and looked to burnish the experiences at it’s the Red Door by Elizabeth Arden spa. The company was acquired in 2016 by Revlon, which also has tapped digital campaigns and high-wattage celebrities to its advantage.

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