Glossier’s Biggest Campaign Ever Is All About Real People

Buzzy beauty company cast from social media and its own staff

Feeling like glossier campaign, split image of flowers and model Ernest
An image from the "Feeling Like Glossier" campaign that focuses on emotions, rather than looks. Glossier
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Glossier is the poster child for organic growth. Founded in 2014, the beauty brand was originally a spinoff of the popular beauty website Into the Gloss, known for its Top Shelfie interviews that ask women—from stylists and editors to actresses—to spill the details about their makeup, hair and skincare routines.

In its earliest days, the brand’s rapid growth—last year, Glossier passed $100 million in revenue and acquired 1 million new customers—could largely be attributed to its popularity on social media. But as Glossier has grown, so has its embrace of traditional marketing. Nowhere is that more apparent than in its new campaign, “Feeling Like Glossier.”

Feeling like glossier campaign, split image of model Paloma and clouds
An image from Glossier's "Feeling Like Glossier" campaign
Courtesy Glossier

It is Glossier’s most comprehensive campaign to date, and while digital will remain its main focus—with a large presence on social media, Glossier’s own website and email—it’ll also appear in out-of-home in New York City and spots on ABC, the first time the brand has advertised on broadcast television.

“It’s a very natural evolution for Glossier,” said Ali Weiss, Glossier’s senior vice president of marketing, of the brand’s move toward adding more traditional marketing into its mix. “When we’re making an investment in a campaign, ensuring that we did that digital-first, but holistically that we are able to touch people across all different moments in their lives was really important.”

Weiss in particular points to Glossier’s partnership with ABC, which will bring ads not only to the network but also its digital properties, as a way the brand is building its presence in traditional channels while retaining its signature digital-first approach.

Glossier turns real fans into brand ambassadors

Though this may be a sign of a new era of marketing on the horizon for digital darling Glossier, fans of the brand will instantly recognize the very Glossier elements in the campaign, particularly integrating regular people.

Glossier's "Anthem" video, part of its "Feeling Like Glossier" campaign

There are seven people featured in the campaign, each of whom is a member of the Glossier community. There is Ernest, who works at the brand’s NYC flagship store; Hannah, a customer who Glossier found after her tweet about the brand went viral; and Paloma, a model who has worked with the brand in the past.

“It felt really natural to go back to people we had relationships with and ensure that we weren’t making it feel like it was like a contrived community that had never existed before,” Weiss said, noting that the brand attracts “inherently diverse” fans.

Even though Glossier’s influence and footprint have surpassed that of the website that inspired its creation, the Into the Gloss ethos still remains a major part of its content strategy. Weiss told Adweek, “The idea of telling individual stories to inspire people to feel a certain way really has been the basis of every single thing we’ve created.”

Focusing on feeling rather than looks

At its core, this campaign is about the idea that beauty is “more than products—it’s a feeling that connects people,” said Weiss, making it more about the brand’s values than its products. As such, the video spot starts with the question, “How do you feel today?” The answers that follow include “laughter,” “a pink jumpsuit,” (the garment worn by Glossier store employees, called “offline editors”), “curly hair” and “melted ice cream.” The idea, Weiss said, is to emphasize the way Glossier makes customers feel, rather than the way it makes them look.

Empowering customers, which are Glossier’s biggest asset, makes sense for the beauty brand, which has 2.3 million followers on Instagram and over 1,000 “reps” or brand ambassadors who post product photos on social media that often ends up getting shared on Glossier’s own account. (The payment structure for these representatives has not been disclosed, according to Racked.)

“The way that we approach marketing is to meet our community where they are, and tell the stories that they want to hear throughout those venues,” Weiss said. “When you have a highly engaged community from a marketing perspective, that enables your community to be advocates on your behalf.”

@dianapearl_ Diana is the brand marketing editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.