Shiseido’s Halloween campaign is a lesson in diversity and inclusivity

It’s the most magical week of the year, which is befitting to bring you a most magical piece of creative from Japanese cosmetics brand, Shiseido.

Shiseido Halloween Campaign 2018

Dubbed ‘The Party Bus’, the Shiseido Halloween themed three-minute video not only unmasks hidden feelings, but also reveals the next iteration of the brand’s gradual and progressive makeover….sorry.

To avoid spoilers, watch said video now before reading on…

This is the second spot from a beautiful partnership between Shiseido and Japanese director Show Yanagisawa, following on from the storming success of the 2015 ‘High School Girl’. The parallels between the two ads are clear – the quiet subtly of subversion, a slightly whimsical real world, and a story that manages to keep the product at its heart in a very natural and relevant way.

And as a self-confessed Halloween obsessive, Yanagisawa’s interpretation of the ‘holiday’ is stunning. Combining the kitsch and novelty with contemporary stylistic nods manages to strike a balance of feeling charmingly nostalgic, and yet refreshingly modern.

Shiseido's Halloween campaign

A lesson in diversity and inclusivity

Which is particularly relevant given the evolving contexts in which Shiseido’s spots are sitting. In Japan, LGBTQ people account for 7.6% of the population, with attitudes towards sexuality, gender and self-expression becoming increasingly less conservative. Studies, however, have shown that only one-in-five of the LGBTQ community feel represented by brands in their marketing.

This is the opportunity that Shiseido has spotted and run with – and although the association of makeup with self-expression is obviously nothing new, we are generally used to seeing this manifest itself in a much more overt sense, often being used to demonstrate a heightened expression of how you may define yourself.

What Shiseido have managed to do well with both spots from Yanagisawa is align their products to diversity and inclusivity in such a subtle and layered way, that it doesn’t feel laboured or bang-wagoney.

Shiseido's Halloween campaign

 With brands desperately trying to find ways to align their values with those of their audiences, it is often the case that efforts appear misplaced, disingenuous or in some extreme cases, just plain random.

In contrast, Shiseido is gradually metamorphosing from a traditional Japanese beauty brand to a brand that represents and responds to evolving contemporary cultures, audiences and opportunities in an authentic and beautifully tasteful way.


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