P&G takes over Times Square to tackle 'toxic competition' in beauty

By Sarah Parsons 5-Mar-2020

In partnership with athlete Simone Biles, Japanese skin care brand SK-II is raising its profile with US consumers ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020

Gymnast Simone Biles and her animated version in Times Square

P&G took over New York City's Times Square on 3 March to promote its Japanese SK-II brand in the US.

Founded in 1980 and acquired by P&G in 1991, SK-II is a popular luxury skin care brand in East Asia, but has recently ramped up efforts to gain market share in the West.

Ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the prestige brand released a teaser trailer of its upcoming six-part advert series across New York's landmark billboards.

In partnership with US athlete Simone Biles, the world's most decorated gymnast, the anime-style VS campaign centres on 'toxic competitions in beauty'.

The advert depicted a cartoon version of Biles overcoming online trolls.

"I am sharing my story so that young women and girls who have experienced beauty trolling know that they are not alone in their fight against the trolls and toxic beauty standards," said Biles.

"It really means a lot to me to share the important message that we define what beauty means to us. No one should tell us what beauty should or should not look, act or feel like."

Manga to live action: Telling beauty stories

SK-II has also created adverts highlighting how fellow Olympic athletes have battled unrealistic beauty standards: swimmer LiuXiang, table tennis player Ishikawa Kasumi, badimington duo Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, surfer Mahina Maeda and Japan's Volleyball team.

Sandeep Seth, CEO of SK-II, added: "We were deeply inspired by the stories of our athletes and wanted to recognise how they have conquered toxic competition in beauty in way that's never been done before, bringing together elements from Japanese culture like manga, together with animation, live action and different film genres."

Best known for its hard-hitting adverts addressing female social issues in Japan, SK-II teamed up with comedians James Corden and Naomi Watanabe on a YouTube campaign to promote the brand’s Pitera Essence.

Alongside actress and SK-II ambassador Chloe Grace Moretz, Corden tap danced, took facial bubble baths and made an ASMR video in the name of beauty.

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Meanwhile, in June, Grammy-award winning singer John Legend unveiled 'Oh Pitera', a theme tune for the brand's hero product, and wrote 'Take A Look' for the new VS campaign.

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