Beauty success: these brands that exploded unexpectedly

There was a time when a brand’s popularity was almost exclusively dependent on advertisements on TV, in cinemas, on bus shelters and in the press. The arrival of social networks has changed the game, and some sometimes take advantage of an unexpected global buzz, to make all marketers green with envy. “If it’s no longer traditional advertising that allows you to stand out, make no mistake about it, you don’t stand out from the crowd just because you’re launching cool products,” says Pierre Bisseuil, co-founder of the agency. The Prospectivists. The entry ticket is very high, it requires large financial resources to ensure innovation, lab tests, packaging… Everything must be square. Then, you have to have the right connections to make yourself known and ensure relay on the networks, which requires teams to create content. The success stories could lead one to believe that all it takes is a stroke of luck, which, in the highly competitive cosmetics market, does not exist. Originally, there were good products and teams that knew how to invest and transform the buzz so that it didn’t fall off as quickly as a soufflé.


A year ago, in March 2021, The Cream by Augustinus Bader was voted “best skincare of all time” in the American magazine “WWD” by a jury of three hundred professionals in the sector. A surprise consecration for a very young brand that does not have the strike force of the cosmetics giants. It is today crowned with a hundred awards around the world, cited as the favorite product of many Hollywood stars and beauty experts, such as Pat McGrath and Bobbi Brown. Why has this anti-wrinkle cream, whose flagship active ingredient, TFC8, no one can explain how it works, succeeded in hacking the saturated cosmetics market? To understand it, you have to go back to Germany in the laboratory of Professor Augustinus Bader. “A mutual friend, Steve Jobs’ mentor, told me about it as the biggest brain working on stem cells,” recalls Charles Rosier, co-founder of the brand. Passionate about medicine, the financier, who at the time supported research on the spinal cord of Pr Étienne-Émile Baulieu, then tried to put the two scientists in contact. But the story will take a completely different turn in 2013, when, in his laboratory, Augustinus Bader shows Charles Rosier the fruit of his work, a gel capable of repairing the skin of severe burns. The photo of a 4-year-old child, with second and third degree burns, who healed without scars or grafts, impresses the financier: “I said to myself that this gel absolutely had to be accessible to everyone everywhere in the world . Enthusiasm is not enough. In terms of drugs, tens of millions have to be put on the table to successfully pass all the approval phases. The pharmaceutical industry is not following. Augustinus Bader’s gel seems doomed to remain at the experimental stage. But Charles Rosier did not give up and convinced the professor to transpose his discovery into an anti-wrinkle cosmetic active ingredient. The profits generated by the cream will be used to finance the medical branch of the laboratory. She still has to sell. “We then had the chance to meet the right people at the right times,” said the businessman. The latter recruits to lead the new company a CEO, who is none other than the brother-in-law of Melanie Griffith. Bluffed by the frost, the actress decides to invest in the adventure. She took on her ex, Don Johnson, then Courteney Cox and Brad Pitt, who, still marked by his experience delivering meals to hospitals when he was unknown, decided to support the medical project. Very quickly, people passed on the miracle cream for the skin. Soon, she is quoted by actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, who has nevertheless created her own brand. “Everything happened naturally, we never paid anyone,” underlines Charles Rosier. The second big boost that will boost sales and amplify word-of-mouth is the American press that will give it, explains the businessman. “We were told that if we didn’t advertise, very little would be said about us. The reverse happened. Journalists were fascinated by Professor Bader’s research and, when testing the product, were won over by its performance. The praises rain down over the articles. Even the very serious British newspapers “The Times” and “Financial Times” are full of praise. In England, Victoria Beckham is launching a treatment in collaboration with the brand. In France, the buzz is also growing. In a video that has gone viral by Sista (a collective that fights against funding inequalities between men and women entrepreneurs), the big boss Xavier Niel answers the question “What is your morning routine? “: “I have a great product, it’s Augustinus Bader, a little cream, it’s crazy. But, concretely, what does this care to convert the planet do? “We provide the skin with all the tools for cell renewal to take place ideally. It is a technology that optimizes their work, because they are naturally programmed to make perfect skin. We see a real effectiveness on wrinkles, because the skin regains its elasticity,” sums up Charles Rosier. The patented complex is handcrafted in Germany, with clean ingredients. Today, this technology is also integrated into body and hair products, with astonishing results, particularly on hair loss. The repair gel for severe burns is still undergoing clinical studies. It should be on the market within two years.

Read also >> Augustinus Bader: interview with the professor who is revolutionizing skincare

The cult product: The Cream, 50 ml, €215. THE NEW The Light Cream, 30 ml, €155.


How did an American dermatological brand, not really glamorous, manage to experience stockouts all over the planet since 2020 and how did it rise to the rank of second brand of dermocosmetics in the world? In France, where it has only been sold since 2018, it has fallen from 50th place to 19th place, while in England its market share has jumped from 4% to 24%. This good fortune is the fruit of the buzz, it happened on TikTok, and nobody at CeraVe had planned anything. Before diving back into the media whirlwind that rocked the summer and fall of 2020, we need to go back to the origins of the brand to get an idea of ​​the gap that separated it from social networks. “It was founded in 2005 by dermatologists who were inspired by the technology of prolonged drug release to create a patented system for vectorizing active ingredients, explains Amélie Lacour, its marketing director. It diffuses ceramides and hyaluronic acid for forty-eight hours, which are essential for repairing the skin barrier. In addition to the delivery system, dermatologists have filed a patent for a cocktail of three essential ceramides. Based on these two specificities, they launched a simple, effective range with an accessible price positioning. Because it is dedicated to damaged skin, the brand first developed in France via medical visits, among dermatologists and geriatric services in hospitals. “We have very good results on atopy, senile xerosis. That was our roadmap,” continues Amélie Lacour.

And then, in August 2020, the fate of Cera Ve Rocking. In the United States, the influencer Skin Care By Hyram recommends (without the intervention of the brand) the foaming gel CeraVe to a young woman who is desperate to get rid of her pimples. Three days later, she posts a completely crazy “before and after” of her skin. It is the spark that ignites the powder. “From there, all the big skincare influencers started talking about CeraVe. However, in the United States, many are dermatologists, like Dr. Shah or Dr. Portela, specifies Amélie Lacour. The American teams called us telling us to stock up, to warn the pharmacists. But we, in France, we were microscopic, we didn’t believe it…” It was to forget that the younger generations follow foreign accounts and that French influencers have also jumped on the bandwagon. As a result, a month later, the Clichy factory, which supplies all of Europe, could no longer keep up. Face cleansers have been out of stock for several months. The buzz could have died down, but the brand, which belongs to L’Oréal, benefited from the power of the group to transform this outbreak into lasting success. “We could have abandoned the medical examination, on the contrary we reinforced it, because it is our DNA. At the same time, we developed social networks. It’s a bit schizophrenic,” comments Amélie Lacour. In the United States, CeraVe has become the number one brand prescribed by physicians. In France, she is close to the top 5 and, on TikTok, she has established herself thanks to her creativity in her way of communicating. CeraVe has now entered the very closed circle of the most sought-after cosmetic brands on the Net, alongside The Ordinaryanother lab that has built its success on the trio of simplicity, performance and accessibility.

The cult product: Foaming Gel, 236 ml, €8.70.

New: Le Soin Concentré Anti-Imperfections, 40 ml, €12.90 (from 15 September).



By launching, in 2018, a brand of hair products formulated in Bali with local natural ingredients associated with high-tech complexes, the founders of Coco & Eve did not imagine that the craze would be global. All it took was the “before and after” posted on the brand’s Instagram account and picked up by influencers for its Shampoo Super Moisturizer Like a Virgin, based on coconut and hyaluronic acid, ten times out of stock in 2021!

The cult product: Like a Virgin Shampoo, 250 ml, €24.90.

New: The Sweet Repair Mask, 212 ml, €34.90.


It was live on American TV: presenter Jamie Kern Lima’s make-up melted under the effect of the heat of the commercials, exposing her rosacea on the screen. A click for the young woman, who then decided to create her own products with dermatologists and plastic surgeons. By evoking his skin problems, showing his imperfect face, Jamie Kern Lima rallied an entire community and raised It Cosmetics to the 5th rank of makeup brands in the United States.

The cult product: CC+ Cream, 32 ml, €41.

New: CC+ Nude Glow, 32 ml, €41.

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