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Beauty beyond bias: Glow Recipe casts models sight unseen for major ad campaign

To challenge conventional beauty norms, Glow Recipe decided to challenge conventional casting norms. The beauty brand's largest-ever ad campaign β€” promoting its Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops β€” was built on a unique premise: a sight-unseen casting call. 

The process involved a partnership with Alex Love, an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion, to curate questions centered around applicants' views on beauty, self-confidence and life experiences. All identifying information was omitted from applications to avoid implicit bias, including names, locations and ages. Over 2,500 Glow Recipe fans participated. The company whittled the pool down to 40 semi-finalists through phone interviews, further narrowing it to 10 finalists with the aid of a Diversity Advisory Board.

Glow Recipe met its chosen models for the first time via Zoom, after they'd been selected. The diverse group later flew to NYC for a two-day shoot. Last month, Dew You β€” which is the brand's first global out-of-home campaign β€” launched in major cities across the US, as well as Toronto and London. 

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Glow Recipe isn't a tiny upstart; one bottle of its Dew Drops sells every 17 seconds. So, flying blind for a major campaign carried significant risk. Co-CEO Christine Chang explains why her brand took the plunge: "When we first started to brainstorm the Dew You Campaign, the question was how can we make everyone feel like they could truly be part of our brand campaign? The answer: we wouldn't see our models… until they were cast."

The resulting Dew You campaign serves as a tangible expression of the company's commitment to diversity and equity β€” core values that are increasingly becoming non-negotiables for consumers. By focusing on personality in a bias-averse casting call, Glow Recipe walked its talk of celebrating inner beauty. Other brands: how could you rethink advertising norms to set new standards for authentic representation?

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Mihaela Tantas