Witness the collaboration between iconic beauty brand Niely by L’Oréal Brasil and Shutterstock Studios as they showcase the evolution of the Brazilian standard of beauty through captivating portrayals of authenticity, self-esteem, and empowerment.
The Niely brand was born in Brazil during the 1980s, in Nova Iguaçu, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. At its core, the brand is driven by a commitment to provide Brazilian women with high-quality hair products that are accessible and affordable. Over decades of success and customer appeal, Niely established itself as a frontrunner in the beauty market, capturing the attention of global beauty giant L’Oréal and leading to its acquisition in 2015.
Since joining forces, Niely and L’Oréal have been at the forefront of a significant cultural shift in the country. Brazilians were beginning to challenge the long-standing Eurocentric beauty standard that idealized straight and blond hair, despite the fact that the majority of the population did not naturally possess these features.
This awakening has catalyzed the rise of a generation of talented individuals who, particularly through their media presence, have amplified the visibility of natural beauty, embraced their African roots, and rekindled a sense of pride in their culture.
Renowned celebrities like Taís Araújo, Iza, Lucy Ramos, and Ludmila have entered the scene as influential figures, gracing the media with their natural locks or stylish braids and shining a spotlight on the beauty of authentic Afro hair.
To empower those who are reimagining beauty in Brazil’s true image, Niely has undergone a repositioning. They are aiming to embrace all forms of beauty and strengthen their close relationship with consumers, making them feel valued, seen, and even more beautiful.
This moment of brand evolution presented an ideal opportunity to collaborate with Shutterstock Studios. The task at hand was to reflect the Niely Cor&Ton product’s new perspective, one that more closely aligns with the reality of its consumers. Niely and L’Oréal trusted Studios to assemble a team with the sensitivity, talent, and agility needed to capture custom images portraying their new vision.
Setting the Scene with Shutterstock Studios
For the Shutterstock Studios and Niely teams, telling the right story began with authentically reflecting the diversity of the Brazilian population and the community in which the Niely brand lives.
“Our idea was to showcase a feeling of belonging, how the consumer sees herself reflected in our brand,” said Ingra Gomes, Marketing Analyst, Niely Cor & Ton, L’Oréal Brasil.
To achieve this, representation was needed not only in front of the lens, but also behind the camera. This goal was set in motion from the earliest stages of project planning, from choosing set locations and casting models to recruiting the most diverse team of producers, photographers, and behind-the-scenes staff possible.
To capture the campaign images, Studios relied on the talent of photographer André Sena, a portrait specialist in the beauty space. Running the show on set was Laila Valois, the producer involved with the Carapicuíba community in São Paulo city. Her knowledge of the city’s narrow streets, establishments, and residences, coupled with her connections to the Brazilian people, was critical to setting the stage for the shoot in terms of location and casting.
Valois took special care to move away from clichéd scenarios from the peripheral areas, preferring to seek out locations that allowed for beautiful framing of the vibrant Brazilian lifestyle among the more humble dwellings of the community.
Carapicuíba’s neighborhoods, characterized by modest houses and narrow streets, fostered a sense of familiarity and warmth for the residents who call them home. The vibrant street life of the Jardim Marilú suburbs and the local vendors in the economic hub of Vila Dirce became the perfect backdrop for the cast of talent, which included women with visibly diverse Afro-Brazilian traits.
The model selection was made in partnership with a social organization of the city, the Oca Escola Cultura, which works with children and adolescents from the community of Aldeia de Carapicuíba to ensure they develop a strong awareness of themselves and their community through an education based on Brazilian art and Afro-descendant cultural practices.
During this process, the Niely and Studios team made a pleasant discovery. The models revealed themselves to be real consumers of the product and were able to lean on their real experiences to bring great insights to the campaign’s narrative. In addition to being the best representation of Neily brand’s consumers, their familiarity with the product was key to providing credibility and realness to the production.
Niely’s Beauty Revolution for Real Customers
Working with real consumers of the Niely brand has allowed the Studios team to create rich content far beyond a photo shoot. While taking a dive into these women’s journey of beauty transformation and enhancement, the project brought to light several insights about the relationship between consumers and the hair coloring process.
“What caught my attention the most was how easy it was for us to put a briefing in Shutterstock’s hands and receive the images telling a story,” explained Lucas Moreira, Senior Marketing Manager of the Niely Cor&Ton brand. “We wanted to portray the journey from the moment the woman tests our app on her cell phone, sees the color she wants to change, visits the point of sale, and takes the hair dye product home.”
Niely’s consumers used the product in unique and unconventional ways that defied traditional expectations. Studios dove into that narrative, ensuring that viewers of the campaign would see the world of beauty and hair through the eyes of Brazilian locals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
Mariah Bayeux, the production coordinator at Shutterstock Studios, described what it meant to explore this routine with the consumer models.
“We found that women used hair coloring at home for different reasons. Sometimes in the interval between dyeing sessions at the salon. Other times they became the professionals themselves,” said Bayeux. “Many applied the product in open places and under the sun because they believe that the effect is maximized. As most applied the coloring by themselves, the removal of the product had to be done outdoors. All the models had voluminous hair and needed more than one box of the product, some even using three.”
Nuances such as showing the product being applied in the yard, the improvised way of holding a mirror, waiting for the activation of the product under the sun, or rinsing with the hose brought an element of truth to the work and emphasized the unique connection between the Niely Cor&Ton brand and consumer.
“What we already knew via consumer surveys is that class C women usually use hair products outside the bathroom, in the laundry tank, because that’s where she has the best water pressure and won’t occupy the bathroom for 40 minutes. Shutterstock not only paid attention to this fact in the briefing but also worked with real consumers to bring us incredible images, which from now on, will make up the brand’s internal and digital communication assets,” says Moreira.
Satisfaction and Success for the L’Oréal Brazil Team
According to Ingra Gomes, Marketing Analyst of the brand Niely Cor&Ton, the partnership with Shutterstock enabled their team to expand this campaign beyond internal communication, which was their initial goal.
“The result of our collaboration with Shutterstock and new brand positioning has started to exceed our expectations,” she explained. ”Now we want to take this to social and e-commerce to make the consumer really see herself through our brand, and we won’t stop only in this first project.”
Studios’ ability to operate globally and virtually was another reason behind L’Oréal Brazil teams’ satisfaction with the project. The process was carried out entirely remotely, from the brief, pre-production, and approvals to the final delivery, something that was very welcome considering the teams are physically in different states of the country.
Rosangela Deamo, who leads the relationship with L’Oréal at Shutterstock Brazil, adds, “L’Oréal is a partner in other countries, and the expansion to Brazil reflects one more successful story with the brand.”
The process of collective work between the teams resulted in a selection of images that captured aesthetic excellence and essence with which consumers could identify and feel proud of their own beauty.
The project brought benefits from several angles, including an increase in the self-esteem of the models from seeing themselves so beautifully photographed.
“It also connected to values of promoting and developing the local audiovisual market, as the majority of the crew belong to the portrayed communities,” says Valois. The brand gained a much closer connection with its target audience, and consumers can see themselves as belonging to a universe where there is room for their beauty to express itself.
“It’s there—the images speak for themselves, and we’re super happy with the result,” concludes Moreira. “A big thanks to the Shutterstock team for such an amazing partnership. We are building a new vision for what beauty really means with the Niely brand in Brazil, and you guys are part of this journey now.”
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