The Making of an Instagram Ad

At the Fashion Tech Forum, a few weeks ago, many of the presenters talked about how to reach the Gen Y & Z customers and how this particular demographic operates not only online, but how they are changing the ways in which we communicate.  For example, a Gen Y shopper will walk into, let's use the Gap as an example, and simultaneously be on the company's website, via their mobile device, comparing prices and inventory.  (This is why, if you haven't noticed, many retailers are adding free WiFi inside their stores). This new way of communicating and shopping is causing some companies to rethink their marketing and communication strategies especially when it comes to social media.

Estee Lauder, a company that has been around for 68 years, is one such company.  Competing with younger, hip brands, such as M.A.C or Smashbox, the stately brand is having to ditch some of the ideas that have worked in the past and redirect some of their advertising funds into new platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

If you follow the brand on either platform, you may have noticed the "hip" ads such as the ones below (photos from the brand's Facebook page)

The digital team meets before the shoot and reviews which images have been successful in the past and build off of those.  Renting a house in a sunny location, the team buckles down for two days and shoots photographs from early in the morning until late at night.  What they found isn't popular on social media? Models.  While the models and spokeswomen are incredibly well received in a glossy advertisement in a magazine, the same can't be said for Instagram.  For example, an image of make-up staged, with the beach in the background received 3500 likes, however an image of supermodel Joan Smalls having her make-up done received less than half that number of likes.  They've learned that keeping faces to a minimum, photos with lots of props and those that tell a story work best with their audience on Instagram (as seen in the images below), but viewers on the Facebook platform prefer minimal props.  Fresh flowers or cocktail themed photos do well across all platforms.

Over the course of the two day shoot, thousands of photos are taken, but a mere 250 are selected to post on the company's social media platforms. The most important thing is to have the images look "put together" but not "perfect." After all, it's social media and isn't that what everyone, brands and individuals alike, strive to achieve? Polished, but not perfect; beautiful, but not boastful?

// images here and here //