P&G’s SK-II opens film studio to elevate purpose-driven marketing

Dive Brief:

  • Procter & Gamble skincare brand SK-II launched a film studio division and content hub that will focus on social pressures impacting women today through film as part of its #ChangeDestiny campaign, per a press release.
  • SK-II Studio this year will release eight original films, kicking off on March 29 with “The Center Lane,” a film about Ikee Rikako’s return to competitive swimming that is directed by award-winner Hirokazu Koreeda. For every view the films rack up, the brand will donate $1 (up to $500,000) to a #ChangeDestiny fund that will benefit to-be-named organizations that support women “in pursuing their destiny.”
  • While the brand and parent company P&G have released branded films and video content, SK-II’s launch of a film studio elevates its purpose-driven mission around women’s issues, combining content with a charitable effort.

Dive Insight:

With SK-II Studio, the skincare brand seeks to utilize film and storytelling to spotlight its purpose-driven mission around tackling social pressures that impact women, in a way that “elevate[s] brand-building beyond traditional promotion-driven advertising,” per the release. The brand is also positioning the film-centered push as a way to reach consumers who expect more from brands, especially after a year under the pandemic.

“Our consumers are now expecting so much more from brands and businesses. There is so much more on their minds than just skin and beauty. They believe in brands that have a voice and take a stand on issues that matter to them. It is no longer about selling products, creating ads and driving promotions but engaging her — head, heart and soul,” global CEO Sandeep Seth said in the release.

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The studio’s first film, “Center Lane,” is true to the brand’s larger #ChangeDestiny campaign. It focuses on Japanese competitive swimmer Ikee Rikako, a national record holder who will compete in Olympic qualifiers next month. Rikako was diagnosed in February 2019 with leukemia and returned to the sport in August last year. Director Koreeda’s 2018 film “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or, demonstrating the studio’s commitment to tapping “world-renown film makers, animators, musicians [and] content creators,” per the release.

Parent company P&G has made “high-quality content,” particularly around purpose-driven marketing, a priority, according to Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. In addition, by tying viewership of the films to a donation that could reach up to $500,000, SK-II can avoid claims of “woke-washing” around its purpose-driven marketing.

SK-II Studio follows the brand’s previous content-based efforts. The company last year released its first branded animated series, which depicted six Olympic athletes overcoming different forms of adversity, reimagined in epic fantasy and sci-fi settings. Previously, SK-II premiered a YouTube series starring comedian and “The Late Late Show” host James Corden and actress Chloë Grace Moretz. Meanwhile, P&G has dabbled in purpose-driven film, releasing documentaries as part of its Queen Collective partnership.

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