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Clé de Peau Beauté Names Felicity Jones Face of Brand, Embarks on Relaunch

Jones' first campaign launches in January, marking the start of Clé de Peau's total brand relaunch.

Clé de Peau Beauté has a new face.

The Shiseido-owned brand of luxe skin care and makeup has tapped actress Felicity Jones as global brand face — her first print and digital campaign for the brand is to launch in the U.S., Canada, Asia and travel retail in January. The campaign is meant to reintroduce consumers to La Crème, Clé de Peau’s signature antiaging cream, and reinforce it as the star product in the brand’s portfolio.

Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème
Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème

In her role, Jones will replace Amanda Seyfried, who was named Clé de Peau brand muse and global spokesperson in 2010. Seyfried’s last campaign was for the 2017 holiday season. Jones is perhaps best known for her role as Jane Wilde, Stephen Hawking’s ex-wife, in Hawking’s biopic “The Theory of Everything” — for which she was nominated an Academy Award.

Jones’ appointment marks a turning point for the 35-year-old Clé de Peau, which in January will begin to unfurl a long-awaited relaunch designed to spread brand awareness in markets outside of its native Japan. The relaunch is rooted in Shiseido chief executive officer Masahiko Uotani’s Vision 2020 strategic plan, which aims to grow the overall company to $10 billion in sales annually by significantly raising the global profiles of each brand within its portfolio.

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“Our challenge will be to become a more acknowledged brand globally — of course in Japan [the brand] is well-acknowledged and we’re really rapidly growing [in other Asian countries] but other [markets] still have a weak brand awareness,” said Clé de Peau Beauté brand director Yukari Suzuki. “For the customer who has used the product, they really understand the fine quality and textures, and they become loyal. However, for the customer who hasn’t tried Clé de Peau, they still do not understand our characteristics and uniqueness due to low brand awareness. It is our mission to really convey our values and [emotionally bond] with the consumer to drive up brand awareness.”

To guide the relaunch, which will eventually touch all aspects of the brand — from a modernized logo and counter design to product innovation to digital and retail strategies — Suzuki and other executives settled on three key words to describe the brand’s ethos: intelligent, uncompromising and exquisite. In searching for a new face, Suzuki said that Jones fit this description.

“If you meet [Jones] in person, you’ll instantly see that she embodies the brand. She really is an intelligent person, and you’ll notice she’s very approachable and gives a warmth not only to the person [she is speaking to], but everyone around her,” said Suzuki, speaking in a phone interview from the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Jones makes an unexpected choice for a beauty brand aiming to grow its global presence, but Suzuki asserted that while Clé de Peau is sharpening its focus on social media and digital, choosing a brand face was more about finding someone who truly embodied its core values rather than selecting someone based on follower count.

“I understand that followers are important, but we wanted to emphasize her personality — we didn’t want her to act in the advertisement, we wanted to bring out the real her, who she is as a woman and focus on that as well,” said Suzuki.

The brand will engage with social media, digital and influencers in other ways as it embarks on the relaunch. Suzuki declined to give too many details, but said in the U.S. the brand will tap models and influencers favored by Millennial consumers, to promote product on social media and create YouTube tutorials using the brand’s products. There will also be a large-scale event in Los Angeles to celebrate the first campaign with Jones, which will offer significant opportunities for promotion in the press and social media. Clé de Peu knows its core customer is a woman in her 40s or 50s who is interested in luxe skin care, but Suzuki noted digital is where it can win over younger consumers.

“We have to emphasize social media and digital. Until now, we were very behind on social media. As a global luxury brand, we need to have consistent communication throughout the world and until now, social media and digital has been left up to the local [markets],” said Suzuki, who explained that the goal for Clé de Peau is to ultimately have its social media accounts unified across markets.

Ahead of 2020, Clé de Peau is eyeing the U.S. as a key growth market, along with travel retail, Europe and the rest of Asia. “Our fastest-growing area is China, and by that I don’t just mean mainland China — all of these wealthy Chinese people travel a lot, and when they come to Japan they’re one of the drivers in purchasing Clé de Peau products as well. They influence other Asian countries as well. Chinese people are our fastest-growing [consumers].”