PARIS — With a history of strong, global advertising campaigns, L’Oréal sometimes finds itself searching for answers as more and more young people turn their backs on traditional media in favor of blogs and podcasts.

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Lindsay Owen-Jones. “Consumers really aren’t where they used to be when life was simple. “One of the striking things is that some of our most successful brands do no advertising at all, they’re just p.r. But how magazines will survive financially to do the p.r. if they don’t have advertising budgets is a question that I occasionally ask [the brand managers], and I don’t get a very good reply. So it’s a fantastic challenge.

“It’s just another reason why you’ve got to empower these young people to do these things because they have lifestyles which are closer to the young consumers they’re trying to sell to than we do. And there will always be a means to touch people, to move them. And the great thing about the situation is that it’s not necessarily the biggest or the most powerful who are going to be the best at this.

“Our industry, when I started out, really was about seduction,” he continued, “because the concentrated heavy user was a young woman between 20 and 35. Nowadays, the industry’s grown up. It’s about feeling good about yourself.

“Women make themselves look beautiful for their own satisfaction,” Owen-Jones said. “It’s going to be a very exciting time both in the way you try to reach people but also in the way you try to get people to think of themselves in terms of optimization of their own satisfaction and using cosmetics to feel good about themselves, rather than just to seduce the opposite sex for a short period of their lives.”

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.