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360 Selfie

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Cosmetics brand urges Chinese women to shake up their selfie pose

French cosmetics company Avène has worked with Fred & Farid, Shanghai to urge Chinese women to embrace their 360-degree beauty by shaking up their selfie style.

The brand noticed that selfie poses are often repetitive, with people choosing a certain posture and positioning before snapping their shots, creating pictures that look remarkably similar. In China, according to the above case study video presented by Avène, this is especially the case.

To get women to shake things up, Avène created animated GIF images from the similar-looking selfies posted on Weibo by key Chinese opinion leaders. It then shared the GIFs with these selfie-taking women. The animated images showed rapidly rotating backgrounds, outfits and hairstyles, while the women’s facial positioning and expression hardly changed at all. After pointing this fact out to the subjects of the selfies via personalised GIFs and a viral video, Avène urged them to ‘change the angle’ and show off all sides of their beauty.

‘Beauty in China is usually about conforming to a certain model of beauty,’ the agency said. ‘The appearance of the skin has an essential role, way more than make up or hair.’ The brand sees the campaign as the beginning of an online conversation with Chinese women.

Contagious Insight

Selfie Serving / We’ve seen a number of brands hop onto the selfie train in recent months, and attempt to gain a little brand recognition in the process. Most notably in the cosmetics and beauty category, Dove has urged women to take an ‘honest selfie’through a YouTube video that has amassed millions of views. Indeed, the narcissistic trend of self-shots seems to be a perfect playground for cosmetics brands, as consumers search for the most flattering way to post their pose on social media.

We really like Avène’s creation of personalised GIFs showing how poses are often similar because it gives key opinion leaders something to share with their followers that doesn’t deviate from their typical content. This isn’t a branded image, it’s simply a fun GIF that points out an interesting habit. We would have loved to see Avène develop an app to create the GIFs for all social media users, allowing people on Weibo to make and share their own versions, but targeting influencers and creating a video is a good backup option.

Beauty In China / This campaign seems particularly well suited for China. When we spoke to Fred & Farid, they referred us to the video below, which outlines some of the challenging beauty expectations facing women in China. We can see how a campaign like this one from Avène might fit into the niche filled by something like Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, wherein women are emboldened to feel good about the way they look by showing off their full, 360-degree beauty.

A Good Start, But What’s Next / Avène sees this campaign as the first step in the conversation with Chinese women. If that’s the case and this is truly just the beginning, we look forward to seeing great things come from this campaign. That said, we haven’t seen any indication of how the brand plans to take this conversation forward. We would love to see online and social media tools that help extend the reach of this campaign. Apps like #selfie360 exist to let people take full-circle selfies and show off their full features - perhaps the brand could partner with one such app to start a trend of posting dynamic selfies on Weibo and other social networks.

This is a strong first effort that capitalises on a burgeoning social behaviour with an on-brand campaign. We hope Avène continues to push it further with future iterations and expansions.


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact