How Moroccanoil turned female empowerment into 5 million YouTube views


The latest video installment in hair and beauty brand Moroccanoil’s video series, “Inspired By Women,” features Georgina Chapman, designer and co-founder of American luxury fashion brand Marchesa. Chapman, in the video, speaks about why she wanted to start a fashion company and how she found the inspiration to do so.

“I never grew up thinking that being a woman would be any different than being a man in the working world,” Chapman said in the video interview. “I did realize that I was lucky for that. This was not common for women all over the world.”

Since first launching the series in late 2014, Moroccanoil has also featured model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, animal activist and boxer Chrissy Beckles and the founder of a fashion brand for at-risk girls, Allyson Ahlstrom. The videos have gotten a total of 5 million combined YouTube views in their first year; Chapman’s video, released Friday, now has 44,000 views.

The challenge of the series, according to Moroccanoil’s vp of marketing, David Krzypow, is maintaining a level of authenticity while still raising brand awareness through the videos.

“That’s something we think on every day,” said Krzypow. “If we push it too close to the brand, we risk losing authenticity, but we want [viewers] to make the connection with the brand. We want to answer why we’re doing this, and what’s our purpose.”

Krzypow said that the company wants to empower people through sharing the types of founder stories that aren’t always readily told. Moroccanoil is not alone in this desire: Brands like Dove, Lane Bryant and Aerie all promote campaigns meant to drive women’s confidence, like Dove’s #RealBeauty campaign and Lane Bryant’s campaigns #ThisBody and #PlusIsEqual. Moroccanoil’s play for empowerment, however, doesn’t do consumers the disservice of riding on an already existing insecurity.

“Dove was a turning point when it came to promoting body positivity in campaigns, but they still took advantage of an inherent ideal,” said Madonna Badger, the founder of the agency Badger + Winters. “Women should be judged and celebrated not for how they look but for who they are and what they’re doing.”

Moroccanoil was founded in 2007 by Carmen Tal, who, after a hair-coloring process went awry, used argan oil-infused treatment on her dried ends. The oil’s ability to mend frizz led her to launch a company selling lines of hair and body products with argan oil as the base ingredient. Moroccanoil, privately held, doesn’t disclose sales figures but is now available in 60 countries and employs over 400 people at the four offices in Montreal, New York, Israel and Japan.

“There was no one occurrence or event that led us to the campaign,” said Krzypow. “It was more the progression of how the brand matured over the years, and realizing what we wanted to be known for besides our products.”

With a female founder and CEO at its helm, Moroccanoil decided that sharing stories of fellow female founders was a fit for the brand. It added an “Inspired by Women” tab into the About section of its website, where information on the ongoing campaign, all the videos, and encouragement to share the hashtag #inspiredbywomen is kept. Krzypow said that the company invested in making sure the videos were top quality — Bryce Dallas Howard directed them — but after that, the materials were left to live on their own through organic reach. Without specifying budget, Krzypow said that very little money was spent on promoting the videos.

It’s arguably easier for a brand younger than 10 years old to pass off a greater meaning beyond its products to consumers. While Dove and Lane Bryant have to forge a new connection with customers, brands like Moroccanoil have the advantage of hopping on YouTube a few years after their formation and interviewing women like Chapman as a brand-building exercise that’s, at least, cultivated from the start.

“If you’re building a brand today, you have to figure out the value of your customer and how you can align with them,” said Brooke Bashill, svp and director of Boutique@Ogilvy. “People care about good products, because that’s what sells, but they want a deeper value.”

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