SeeMe, a direct-to-consumer beauty line targeted at women over 50 years old that is made by Procter & Gamble, is tapping nuanced insights to ensure it fully matches the self-perception of its target audience.

Tiffanie Papp, director/future growth in P&G’s global skin and personal care division, and a co-founder of SeeMe, discussed this subject in a recent Virtual Salon session held by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF).

“When it comes to representing age, one of the challenges for marketers at any point in time is the ‘Goldilocks’ phenomenon: ‘That person looks too old’ and ‘That person looks too young.’ Getting it just right is really hard,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: P&G takes direct-to-consumer route with new skincare line for “invisible” older women.)

As SeeMe is a direct-to-consumer brand, it had a flexibility in imagery that a formal locked-and-loaded legacy-media campaign could not traditionally accommodate.

“When originally working on the brand proposition,” Papp recounted, “we were looking at a really different kind of color palette – a look, tone, and feel that was a little bit bohemian.”

A nugget of inspiration helped guide its approach. “We were in Chicago doing consumer research and I was interviewing a woman. We were talking about beauty over time and she kept saying, ‘I used to do this or that with my hair or my skin because I was an ’80s girl,’” the P&G executive revealed.

It was, she said, a “light-bulb moment” that would determine the way SeeMe found a public presence. The focus on the ’80s girl came from what the internal P&G product-development team also remembered as a “fun, happy time. And that brought back a lot of positive memories.”

And that sense of upbeat whimsy beat back a perceived problem with the new brand. Said Papp, “One of the things we found when we talked about the 50-plus post-menopausal [discussion],” potential consumers would say, “I don’t really like that.”

But when SeeMe presented an ’80s image, that elicited a response of “Oh, she looks like me”, and thus evoked a positive response.

“It really is an interesting dilemma,” she added, noting that brand stewards need not just to focus on their target market but also “make sure that the people you’re representing” are generally depicted in a way that reflects the task “those people see themselves as” doing.

With that kind of direction, she acknowledged, comes risk. “Some people say, ‘They’re too old.’ And someone will see them as ‘too young,’” said Papp. “But that’s OK.”

Sourced from WARC