Liya Kebede, Elizabeth Hurley and Carolyn Murphy

NEW YORK — Estée Lauder is continuing its push to modernize its flagship brand with a new ad campaign featuring its trio of supermodels.<br><br>Beginning in January, the brand will unveil a sexy new ad lineup shot by fashion photographer...

NEW YORK — Estée Lauder is continuing its push to modernize its flagship brand with a new ad campaign featuring its trio of supermodels.

This story first appeared in the November 26, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Beginning in January, the brand will unveil a sexy new ad lineup shot by fashion photographer Mario Testino in the South of France and overseen by Aerin Lauder, vice president of global advertising for Estée Lauder. The brand’s three spokesmodels —?Elizabeth Hurley, Carolyn Murphy and Liya Kebede — will all be featured in the campaign.

The big push to reinvent the brand’s advertising began in 2001. While Hurley has been a part of the Lauder team since 1995, the brand signed Murphy in September 2001 and Kebede in April 2002 to continue the push to ratchet down the average age of the Lauder consumer. To help drive that project, eight new ads have been shot for the first half of 2004, encompassing each of the brand’s launches in skin care and color cosmetics.

The first ad of the campaign, for the brand’s new Hydra Complete moisturizer lineup, features Murphy and breaks in January 2004 fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. It will be followed in February by an ad for Pure Delight, a color line, also featuring Murphy.

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Nearly all of the ads feature one model, rather than all three —?except for the ad campaign for a new Lauder signature lipstick. That campaign will use a rotating series of three ads, one for each of the spokesmodels, and Lauder expects it to be “an iconic campaign. It’s hard to do lipstick in a fresh way, but this does it.”

In the ads, Murphy sports red lips, Kebede burgundy lips and Hurley pink lips; all the images have an overlay of Estée Lauder blue. These ads break in July 2004 fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. The brand will also use a shot of the trio from the French shoot as its iconic image at department store counters.

The image features all three women, with clean-scrubbed faces and hair pulled back, on a simple white background. In selected markets, it will also appear as a single page “Defining Beauty” ad.

For her part, Lauder is enthusiastic about the new turn that the brand’s advertising is taking. “We feel that it speaks to the future of the brand, while embracing our heritage at the same time,” she said, pointing to an upcoming ad for Clear Difference, a four-stockkeeping-unit line for oily skin that is launching in April. That ad features Murphy reclining on the ground surrounded by white and leaf-green pillows. Never one to overlook a detail, Lauder also made sure that the green pillows —?custom-made for the shoot — were exactly the same shade as Clear Difference’s packaging.

That attention to detail is carried throughout the campaign, including the signature lipstick campaign, where Lauder matched gold accents on the new signature lipstick’s case to gold jewelry on each of the spokesmodels.

“With some ads — like this one for Clear Difference — we’ve chosen a lifestyle approach that we used in classic Estée Lauder ads — pulling the camera back to see the model’s entire body, using accessories and choosing casual, inviting settings, which makes the customer want to be a part of the scene,” Lauder added, referencing the brand’s vintage Victor Skrebneski campaigns.

The new ads have been assembled using a cohesive fashion-oriented team that includes herself and Testino. “Mario is so passionate about the products, and you can see that in his work,” Lauder said.

“Connecting beauty and fashion is a strong focus for our advertising going forward, and I really think that shows in this campaign.”

The ad layouts have also undergone a tweaking. While the brand will still run single-page ads, the focus for spring will be on double-page spreads, with a bleed across the page and the Lauder name on the right-hand side of the spread. “Overall, our product shots for this campaign are much simpler, more clean,” said Lauder. “We feel they’re very inviting — they make the consumer want to be a part of the scene.”

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