The Ordinary Shirks Beauty Marketing Conventions in Minimalist Ads

Billboards by Uncommon Creative Studio focus on the science behind the products

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It’s well known that springing for a celebrity endorsement can do wonders for brand awareness. But beauty brand The Ordinary challenges this advertising truism in an intentionally star-free campaign.

Opting for the minimalist route, The Ordinary launched a global out-of-home campaign by agency Uncommon Creative Studio. The billboards lean into the science behind its products over flashy gimmicks and celebrity appearances.

With a sparse aesthetic, the ads feature only lines of copy against blank white backgrounds. Accompanying these brief, witty words are simple images of drops of serum or cleanser in the margins.


Gif of OOH campaign highlighting simplicity of products from The Ordinary
Uncommon, The Ordinary

Keeping it real

The ads tap into a wry sense of humor to convey the campaign’s overall message of authenticity. This is a particularly unusual marketing approach in the beauty industry, which tends to use celebrity or influencer endorsements and glossy imagery.

One ad notes that while some find it odd that The Ordinary does not give catchy names to its products, scientists tend not to be particularly skilled in the fine art of copywriting. Another dryly remarks that the team was unable to find a celebrity with a biochemistry degree to appropriately convey the brand’s message.

These pieces contradict preconceptions of the beauty industry’s reliance on artifice by not leading with exaggerated claims. The plainly named products are part of the brand’s larger plan for transparency.

Founded in 2016 with an emphasis on affordability and education, The Ordinary’s products feature similar design to the billboards. The brand’s no-nonsense naming conventions have led to products with titles such as Squalane Cleanser, Hyaluronic Acid and Natural Moisturizing Factors, each distinguished by monochromatic labels and simple typesets.

This campaign follows The Ordinary’s similarly simple out-of-home campaign last year in New York. This round of placements will appear across the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

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