20 most creative beauty ads to this day

best beauty ads_header image

Since the early days of advertising, the beauty industry has spent big on advertising. More recent reports estimate that the personal care and beauty products market will be valued at an astonishing $937.1 billion by 2030.

And with lots of money at stake comes great competition. That’s why beauty brands keep finding their own special voice to persuade customers that their beauty product is “the product” that will make their skin look younger, prettier, and more energetic.

Let’s look at the 20 most creative beauty ads that some of the biggest brands released over the years!

1. Vaseline – The cracked paintings

The first place on this list definitely belongs to Vaseline and their “cracked paintings” campaign. This beauty company gained worldwide popularity for its extremely moisturizing products for even the toughest conditions.

Back in 2017, the brand creatively showcased cracked old paintings looking as good as new after using Vaseline – hinting to its users the true power of their products.

Instead of taking the well-known route for hydrating moisturizers and showcasing people using it in tough conditions like in the mountains, or while running and swimming, Vaseline showed us what thinking outside of the box looks like in practice. And we absolutely love it!

vaseline beauty ad

Source: adsspot.me

2. L’Oréal – This is an ad for men

Who doesn’t love a good ad with powerful messaging? And what’s more powerful than a big cosmetics brand using their platform to talk about gender inequality? A few years ago, L’Oréal used the power of its brand to create an “ad for men”.

While showing their famous lipsticks and mascaras, the brand took the opportunity to highlight some injustices for the women in business. Their products took on the role of infographics, for some powerful and demoralizing statistics, making a big buzz in and outside the beauty world.

L'Oreál ad

Source: adsoftheworld.com

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3. Fenty Beauty – Beauty For All

Let’s just say that Fenty Beauty knows what’s cool even before it was cool. Though these days we can see a huge increase in depicting real women with all their specifics as part of beauty campaigns, a few years ago this wasn’t the case.

When Rihanna entered the beauty scene in 2017, she made sure to give everyone a good lesson in inclusivity. The Beauty For All ad campaign features women of all colors, shapes, and sizes, making sure they promote a healthy body image. The result? Fenty Beauty was the biggest YouTube launch in the history of the platform with 132 million views in the first month.

Fenty Beauty ad

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com

4. Chanel – Mother’s Day campaign

When you think of Chanel you’re probably envisioning a more luxurious, polished, and traditional look. And for most cases you’re right. But in one campaign, the brand decided to take a more playful approach and won the hearts of the public.

For last year’s Mother’s Day, instead of creating an expensive ad for their signature perfume, Chanel No. 5, they used kids’ drawings of the iconic perfume bottle. This turned into a colorful, joyful campaign with an endearing message for mothers across the world.

Chanel beauty ad

Source: medium.com

5. Dove – Real Beauty Campaign

Dove has always been famous for its powerful messaging behind their beauty products. And in one campaign they particularly hit all the right buttons. Their Dove Real Beauty campaign featured a number of women whose looks don’t fit the standard model image.

They paired the images with short but powerful copy, aiming to beat the stereotypes and send a universally positive message – that we’re all beautiful in our own way.

dove ad

Source: pinterest.com 

6. Toni&Guy – Posters With Style

tony&guy

Source: adsoftheworld.com 

Tony&Guy is probably the most famous hair salon chain in the world – known for its stylish and edgy haircuts. And the Posters With Style campaign depicts just that in a fun and memorable way.

The idea was to create posters that the stylists could use to show their abilities and highlight the brand’s pedigree in a new and intriguing way. By simply lengthening the traditional poster, the actual medium then became a representation of hair for faces on the poster design. This gave stylists the space to style the upper half of the poster in a range of fun and fashionable ways.

7. Lavera – Liquid eyeliner campaign

Vegan makeup is becoming a big thing in the world of beauty. And some brands are using their voices to highlight the importance of ending animal cruelty for the sake of our vanity.

By showing some of the most beautiful and elegant wild animals as part of their campaign for liquid eyeliner, Lavera sent a powerful message, while showing how a black eyeliner can give you a more expressive look.

lavera beauty ads
lavera

Source: adsoftheworld.com 

8. CVS – CVS Beauty Mark

CVS Pharmacy is one of the biggest and most trusted beauty retailers in the US. And with their Beauty Mark, they made a pledge to pass on a healthy self image to the next generation. By introducing the Beauty Mark in 2021, the brand vouched that whenever the watermark appears on imagery it means it’s authentic and hasn’t been altered.

The campaign also highlighted their work with other brand partners to redefine industry standards in the beauty aisles and make sure that any imagery that’s been altered is visibly labeled. This brought a lot of media attention to the brand while spreading a positive message. Definitely a win for all!

cvs beauty mark

Source: cvshealth.com 

9. Nivea – “Let’s Nivea It”

In an era where we’re photoshopping even our private images before sharing them with friends on Instagram, it’s become more important than ever for brands to start promoting a positive body image. As a response to an increased use of technology to make us look perfect, Nivea created a brilliant campaign that encourages people to “Nivea it” instead of photoshopping it.

The ad features all sorts of imperfections on a person’s skin that would all be erased with a simple use of Nivea – without needing Photoshop!

nivea beauty ad

Source: adsoftheworld.com 

10. Maybelline – Ski High Mascara Express

In the past year we’ve seen more and more CGI images, often making us question what’s real and what isn’t. And one of the beauty brands that was quick to jump on the trend was Maybelline.

They released a series of videos showing various modes of transport getting a lick of mascara in and around London. They tricked thousands of people into thinking the installations were real, sending the brand viral!

maybelline ooh ad

Source: instagram.com 

11. SKIMS – Nadia Lee Cohen Holiday Campaign

Another beauty campaign that had everyone talking was the latest SKIMS Holiday campaign. The campaign was inspired by vintage magazines, transforming the owner and the main face of the brand, Kim Kardashian, into a modern-day pin-up.

The campaign was shot by a renowned photographer, Nadia Lee Cohen, and spotlighted pieces from the brand’s new festive collection, like silky boxers, fluffy crop top sets, and all-in-ones. With just the right amount of controversy, famous collaboration, and creativity, the brand was once again in the media spotlight.

skims

Source: pinimg.com

12. Rhode – Phone cases

Social media has become a huge advertising platform for all brands, but beauty brands especially. With the rise of influencers and models’ personal branding, more and more celebrities are building their own beauty brands. And they’re often killing it on social!

One of the latest viral sensations were the Rhode phone cases that would (surprise, surprise) perfectly fit their latest lip balm. And who better to start the trend of sharing it on social than the founder, and a major influencer herself – Hailey Bieber. Almost overnight everyone wanted to get their hands on the phone case (and the lip balm) making the campaign a huge success.

rhode

Source: pinterest.com

13. Chanel – Le Film

Another entry for Chanel, this time for their iconic fragrance campaign, Le Film. We all know the classic fairytale scenarios that luxury brands make for their perfume campaigns. There are always beautiful people floating around in incredible landscapes, dressed in the most beautiful garments.

While Chanel followed that traditional aesthetic, they also made a whole short romantic film featuring Nicole Kidman and Rodrigo Santoro. With beauty, glamor, and love exuding from the ad, Chanel won over the hearts of the public and created one of the most iconic beauty campaigns to this day.

14. Flos Lek Laboratorium – Suncare beauty ad

The narrative around having sun protection on an everyday basis (even when it’s cloudy outside) has been dominating the beauty industry in the last couple of years. Everything has SPF these days, we all know what the acronym stands for, and are really afraid of wrinkles whenever we forget to put the cream on.

But one brand, Flos Lek Laboratorium, decided not to scare us with the outcomes of not wearing an SPF as part of their beauty campaign, and instead went for a more light and creative approach. They simply showed their creme as a huge beach umbrella.

This simple yet original approach is all you sometimes need for a good ad campaign.

Flos Lek Laboratorium

Source: pinterest.com 

15. Aesop – Aesop x Adrian & Gidi

Aesop is an Australian luxury beauty brand that offers skin, hair, and body care formulations, and personal and home fragrances. Known for its minimalistic aesthetic, Aesop partnered with creative studio Adrian & Gidi to deliver a beautiful minimalistic campaign for their new line of products.

The images almost look like they feature an interior design project instead of hand creams and soaps. A true testament to what creativity and a different approach can do for a brand.

aesop

Source: adrian-gidi.com 

16. Milk makeup – High concept, low maintenance

Milk makeup decided to take a different approach in advertising their makeup, claiming that busy people need easy-to-apply makeup to create and maintain their unique look. Bold colors, shapes, and looks dominate this campaign, representing both men and women while using their latest makeup line.

milk ad
milk ad 2

Source: pinterest.com 

17. Yves Saint Laurent – NU lip and cheek tint balm

As one of the more traditional luxury brands, Yves Saint Laurent is famous for its expensive beauty products, suits, and handbags. But to cater to the younger audience, YSL created a more vibrant, colorful campaign featuring models making all sorts of faces to highlight the playfulness of their new NU collection and the lip and cheek tint balm.

The images were followed by extensive influencer collaborations on TikTok and Instagram for an additional push towards winning over younger generations.

ysl beauty

Source: pinterest.com 

18. Hourglass – Cruelty free campaign

Another beauty brand fighting for animal rights as part of their beauty campaigns is Hourglass. In 2019, both models and animals took center stage to send a powerful message about the importance of vegan makeup. The combination of beautiful models and animals coming together to celebrate real life beauty is what made this campaign extremely successful.

19. Scandinavian Bio Labs – Hair growth product campaign

Scandinavian Bio Labs is a Danish company aiming to help people with hair loss. As a part of their rebranding, the company released a series of images speaking about hair loss in a more transparent and sometimes even fun way.

Their strategy is all about educating people with scalp issues about the importance of healthy hair, and how to achieve that, all while cracking a joke or two.

scandinavianbiolabs

Source: meetsmallworld.com

20. Covergirl – I am what I make up

In 2017, Covergirl, a famous makeup brand, decided to make a serious shift in their marketing with a powerful campaign titled “I am what I make up”. The goal was to position their makeup as a form of self expression instead of a tool for hiding our imperfections.

They brought beauty outside of the studio and into the real world, featuring real women and their most glamorous selves. Their empowering campaign resulted in over 5.5 billion campaign impressions and 97.3% earned media value, making it a huge success worldwide.

covergirl

Source: adsoftheworld.com 

Final thoughts

Ranging from socially conscious to playful and colorful campaigns, beauty brands are using all sorts of techniques to attract new customers. Hopefully this list helped you get inspired for your next big beauty marketing project.

And if you’re looking for an simpler and faster way to review all the details in your marketing campaigns, make sure to try Filestage for free →