No one likes to come second. We tell ourselves it’s OK, but really, deep down, we all want that glorious feeling of coming first. It starts at school and continues into adulthood. The first to bag the dream job, the first to buy the latest pair of trainers, the first to get married, the first to reproduce – all those little wins feel great. And of course it’s the same in business – all media outlets want to get that first ‘scoop’, be the first to break the big news. Businesses want to be the first to bring on the best clients, want to launch the first novelty beauty item, be the first to create the latest packaging innovation, the first to develop the newest alternative animal testing option – need I go on?
Of course, the marketing game is no different. Beauty companies are falling over themselves to launch the biggest and best campaigns, the first to sign up the latest must-follow influencer and be the first to create innovative marketing post content. And, as diversity and inclusivity becomes a widespread must across the beauty industry, companies are falling over themselves in what seems to be an unspoken battle to bag the first ambassador of various minority groups.
Let’s look at the contenders. L’Oréal Paris got in early in October last year by announcing the appointment of Mahira Khan as its first Pakistani brand ambassador, with Khan getting straight on the band wagon voicing the brand’s tried and tested slogan, “because all the women out there, including me, are worth it!” Indeed. Hat’s off to L’Oréal, the French beauty giant was also the first to announce the appointment of the first hijab-wearing spokesperson for a hair care line, although we all know how that one turned out. Likewise Babor recently announced Ashley Graham as the first plus-sized model in more than a decade to occupy the role as the face of its brand, while Estée Lauder has announced its first ever global ambassador of Indian origin.
And there’s more. Amy Deanna became the first model with vitiligo to model for a CoverGirl campaign, albino model Diandra Forest has teamed up with Wet N Wild, while Katie Meade became the first model to work with Beauty and Pin Ups to promote Down’s syndrome awareness.
A strong list compiled of a strong who’s who of the beauty behemoths, you could be forgiven for thinking this ongoing development is just yet another brand battle to win the title of most forward-thinking, empathetic company. But it has to be said, in this race, there are no losers. In the words of Teen Vogue, “It’s become abundantly clear that the progress made is significantly more meaningful if it becomes a catalyst for greater change.” And I for one am proud to be part of an industry that is striving for a more widespread representation of the wonderful diversity that makes our world great.
I’ll leave you with the words of Ashley Graham, “Instead of celebrating ‘what’s the new,’ it’s about making us the norm.” I hear that sister.