Olay Turned a Viral Spot Into an Off-Broadway Musical of Blatant Product Placement

The 43-minute-long branded show was available for one night only

Ana Gasteyer stars as The Skin Advisor in Olay Live: The Road to Glow, a one-night-only off-Broadway show. Olay
Headshot of Kimeko McCoy

If the first thing you do when you get home is wash your face with Olay, you might be excited to find out that the beauty brand, in coordination with digital media company PureWow,  put on a relatable off-Broadway show on Tuesday night.

The show was one night only and 43 minutes of blatant product placement, catchy tunes, choreographed moves and more puns than you can shake a stick at.

Last year, Olay worked with PureWow to produce the viral musical numbers I Can’t Wait to Wash My Face, the Musical and the Holiday Musical: Have You Heard About…? After racking up millions of views on YouTube, the beauty brand saw success and leapt from the small screen to the stage to launch Olay Live: The Road to Glow. Actress Hannah Rose, who starred in the original spots, portrays Steph in the musical along with Dear Evan Hansen original cast member Kristolyn Lloyd and Ana Gasteyer, who is also known for her work on Saturday Night Live.

Reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, the production features a millennial woman who lost her “glow,” but thanks to an opened jar of Olay Whips moisturizer, supportive friends and Gasteyer as The Skin Advisor, she’s able to get it back.

With an exhaustive list of projects under her belt, Gasteyer is no stranger to the stage. Her Broadway debut was The Rocky Horror Show in 2000, followed by her role as Elphaba in Wicked in 2006. But partnering with Olay for a live show was something new and exciting.

Gasteyer says she loves branded entertainment because of the creative freedom. As a former SNL cast member, she said brands are looser around letting you improvise, pitch jokes and get involved in these sorts of environments.

“I think beauty brands can be so sort of precious and elite and inaccessible,” Gasteyer said. “[It’s fun for] a beauty brand to kind of take the piss out of itself, so to speak, and have a good time celebrating the more sort of joyful aspects [of the brand].” 

After offering advice to the characters onstage as The Skin Advisor, Gasteyer offered her own skincare routine: she keeps Olay wipes next to her bedside for nights when you’re “so tired that you fall asleep with your party shoes [on, and] the one thing you can do is wipe your makeup off before you pass out.”

That and SPF, she says, are the keys to skincare Oz.

While the brand chose not to disclose how much it cost to put on Olay Live, John Grim, associate brand director, Olay North America at Procter & Gamble, did talk about the show’s impact.

“Olay Live allowed us to position ourselves as a brand that doesn’t shy away from the fact that we are creating and selling consumer products,” Grim said in an email to Adweek.

The show had a tongue-in-cheek approach, but the brand director said it created an authentic, relatable experience for consumers. “We want to show women that we see them and that we have products that fit their needs, and I think we accomplished that with Olay Live,” he said.

“We found this event to be a very smart investment for the brand because it resulted in some incredible engagement with the attendees,” Grim said. “[The show] provided us with the opportunity to directly respond to what our fans want with agility and continue to surprise and delight them.”

@kimekom Kimeko McCoy is a freelance journalist and digital marketer, who focuses on social strategy, newsletters and audience development.