Origins Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

It's not your mother's brand anymore.

05_main_original_skinWe twenty-somethings run primarily on a potent cocktail of ambition and insecurity. As we approach the big 3-0, we find ourselves grappling with some major questions: How do I dig out of my student loan debt? Should I go to grad school? Do I want kids someday? How do I further my career?

Now, Estée Lauder would like to remind our selfie-taking demographic that “OMG is that a WRINKLE?!” should also be on that list.

In order to push its new Origins anti-aging Original Skin Renewal serum on Millenials, the company is tapping its own group of twenty-something employees to delve into the deeply-rooted concerns of their peers, meet them where they already are (online), and engage in the dialogue that’s already taking place. The digital campaign, titled #QuarterLifeCrisis, is rolling out in stages and includes a social media component, native content, strategic partnerships, and an app.

“We’ve never really had a product targeting millennials before, so we’re playing in all the places we need to be — entering conversations that are already authentic,” Mark Ferdman, Origins’ vp of global consumer engagement, told Digiday. For instance, the company just celebrated the launch of the campaign’s app by hosting an all-female “Quarter Life Crisis Survival Guide Panel” featuring Yelp’s community director Stephanie Yolish and other notable ladies dishing advice on how to handle everything from career hangups to a hangover.

But is Origins actually concerned with whether or not we have our lives on track? Of course not. It just wants us to know it understands what we need — and if it provides us with the things we already know we need (career advice, for instance), maybe we’ll take it at its word that we also need the other thing it just happens to be offering us: anti-aging cream.

Ferdman hardly minced words when he went on to tell Digiday:

“There’s a moment for a woman in her twenties where she looks in the mirror and realizes that something’s just not right. That’s where we want to be.”

And there they are. Take a look at this tweet from just a few days ago.

I know I’m the target; the manipluation is blatant.

I want to scoff. I want to pretend I’m unaffected. But this exact thing happened when I looked in the mirror this morning. The struggle is real. Get out of my head, dammit!

While the whole beauty industry relies on selling products by tapping into customers’ insecurities and offering a way to solve a perceived “problem,” this campaign seems particularly (almost insidiously) well-targeted. When women our age are feeling vulernable and insecure, we don’t turn on the TV to validate ourselves or to be reassured that countless others are in the same boat — we head to social media to kvetch, we take a buzzfeed quiz to distract ourselves, or we seek advice from bloggers; the creators of this campaign know this about us because they are us.

Origins is officially not our mothers’ brand anymore.