Talent and beauty don’t skip a generation.
Exhibit A is Wet ’n’ Wild’s “Generations of Wild” advertising campaign breaking in January starring Jamie Foxx’s daughter, Corinne Foxx; Andy Garcia’s daughter, Alessandra Garcia, and Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger’s daughter Ireland Baldwin. Pictured alone and together in the campaign, the celebrity progeny promote a whopping 27 products hitting store shelves early next year, including Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick, and concealer, foundation and pressed powder in a Photofocus range designed to help produce flawless selfies.
“These women all have very authentic ties to Wet ’n’ Wild. They all told us their stories about the first time they used the brand. Ireland spoke about her mom taking her to CVS and Walgreens, and letting her choose what she wanted from the wall,” said Evelyn Wang, senior vice president of marketing at Markwins International Corp.-owned Wet ’n’ Wild. “Consumers today are so savvy. They know what celebrities are using in their everyday lives. The idea of having a spokesperson that you pay a multiyear contract to represent you is almost old-fashioned. We are moving to a model of engaging with people who genuinely have an interest in the brand.”
One reason Foxx declared she’s interested in Wet ’n’ Wild is its extensive assortment of affordable makeup. On average, the brand’s products retail for about $2.70. “The spunky brand has so much versatility now and you can use its vibrant products to create so many different looks as opposed to just one type of style. You can really give yourself that boost of confidence by creating any look you want. The ability to transform is priceless,” said Foxx. Wet ’n’ Wild’s black eyeliner was among Garcia’s initial introductions to beauty products. She recounted, “It totally boosted my self-esteem. I started to receive a lot of compliments, and it helped me feel good about myself.”
Positivity and acceptance underpin the message of “Generations of Wild.” Even within the trio it picked for the campaign, Wang emphasized Wet ’n’ Wild sought to feature various ethnicities and body shapes. With beauty brands heavily criticized for sticking to stick-thin spokeswomen, the selection of plus-size model Garcia sends a clear message that Wet ’n’ Wild is different and welcoming. “We know that our consumers want to see diversity, so we said, ‘Let’s cast diversity and use them [Foxx, Garcia and Baldwin] in a way that’s transparent.’ We don’t require these women to be exclusive to our brand in any way because I don’t think that’s authentic.”
Garcia was thrilled to nab the job. “It was always a dream of mine to do a beauty campaign because, being a plus-size model, opportunities like this don’t come up often,” she said, continuing, “Pioneering more diversity in this industry is important to me and Wet ’n’ Wild is definitely leading the way. Makeup is such a great tool to express yourself because you get to wake up every day and be someone different on the outside while remaining the same on the inside. I hope some of the campaign images will inspire more women to be who they want to be regardless of what our society’s standards are.”
Eric Ray Davidson, who has captured Christian Slater, Selena Gomez and Sean Penn in portraits and photographed for Target, Unilever, Diesel and Avon, lensed the campaign, and Natalie Malchev handled makeup. “When you see the images, there is this high-low combination. We are a drugstore brand, but yet we use one of the best photographers in the industry to give you unexpected elevation,” said Wang. “Natalie has become one of our go-to makeup artists. She’s a great technician, and she’s the best you can find for that clean, perfect eyeliner look.”
Following a strong year so far, Wet ’n’ Wild is optimistic the “Generations of Wild” campaign and the products it showcases will sustain the brand’s momentum next year. Wet ’n’ Wild is on track to generate U.S. retail sales north of $200 million in 2016, up from $174 million in 2015. Offerings that have buoyed sales this year include 1-Step WonderGel Nail Polish, the number-one mass market nail launch in 2016, according to the brand, and a makeup brush collection that’s been the top mass market brush launch this year, also according to the brand.
“There are some other brands that have done well, too, and most of those guys are new players, and Wet ’n’ Wild is an established brand. It is pretty exciting to take a brand that has incredible DNA and passionate followers, and have incredible business partners who can really embrace the passion and pump life into it,” said Bill George, president and chief operating officer at Markwins. Positioned in third place domestically for cosmetics units sold in the mass market, he said, “Our near-term goal is to be number-one in units through the register. That…will be a tremendous milestone. We’ve gone from seven to three in three-and-a-half years, and our competition is unbelievably formidable, so we have our work cut out for us.”
To fuel its business, Wet ’n’ Wild is capitalizing on strong beauty trends with its releases. Wang explained Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick “is very much inspired by a lot of the products we see on social media, and a lot of looks we see by beauty influencers in the space.” Shifting to Photofocus, she said, “Everything has to look great on social media. This line of face products is the first line of face products we believe to be specially developed to have zero photo flashback, that unexpected white cast that you see in a photograph versus what you see in the mirror.” She elaborated Photofocus products have been tested in seven lighting conditions — clear blue skies, outdoor evenings, indoor evening, electronic flashes, fluorescent bulbs, bathrooms and nightclubs — to ensure they are iPhone-camera-ready.
In addition, Wang pointed out the products in the Photofocus range are vegan. For Millennial and Generation Z beauty shoppers, vegan formulations and cruelty-free practices are increasingly factoring into buying decisions. Baldwin probably wouldn’t have participated in “Generations of Wild” if Wet ’n’ Wild didn’t have a cruelty-free approach to making its products. She said, “I’m the biggest animal freak on the planet and think it’s great that the brand has never tested on animals. In my own life, it’s really important to be cruelty-free, and I wouldn’t want to represent a brand or work for anybody that doesn’t feel the same way.”
The “Generations of Wild” campaign will be placed in store displays, and digital and print outlets. “Our advertising budget has stayed flat, but we are able to use it in more effective ways. Last year, we produced essentially two big [digital] commercials. For next year, we are creating multiple pieces of content. We are going away from the model of a 30-second commercial that you play all year,” said Wang. “We may create four or five pieces of content and that brings newness throughout the year.”