Case Study: Olay’s Cause Marketing with Influencers

April 1, 2019

Influencer Cause Marketing Case Study: How Olay Achieved An Instagram Engagement Rate Higher Than 8%

Brands recognize that launching a cause marketing campaign enables them to tug at the heartstrings of a generation that values corporate social responsibility. To potentiate those effects, brands have connected their causes to influencers in the same camp. Influencer cause marketing helps brands harness the power of influential tastemakers while also defining their mission to support a cause near and dear to many consumers’ hearts.

Today, social media has given many movements the tools to spread their message with a resounding impact. Influencers add yet another layer, which is why many brands invest in this strategy to amplify their cause. Especially in a saturated digital environment, brands find it quite difficult to cut through the noise. Instagram, however, empowers brands by handing them a megaphone to reach their audience.

Within the beauty industry specifically, one can imagine how competitive the market is when it comes to promoting products that seem to make the same revelatory claims. In order to distinguish amongst a crowded space and drive ROI, beauty brands like Olay can leverage Instagram influencer marketing coupled with good old-fashioned cause marketing.

Olay #FaceAnything Campaign & Influencer 28-Day Challenge

In mid-August 2018, Olay announced a campaign centered on a handful of female influencers to encourage women to be “unapologetically” themselves and to disregard all comments that they were “too much” of a particular quality. Working with nine women (referred to as the “Fearless 9”) as the faces of the campaign, Olay features a diverse range of women with stories that evoke powerful emotions. Olay even made a dedicated micro-site that hosts behind the scenes footage of the photoshoot with Vogue, which will publish the campaign in its September issue.

The “Fearless 9” includes an impressive lineup of models and athletes, such as Aly Raisman and Denise Bidot, as well as other female powerhouses, like Jillian Mercado and Piera Gelardi. Olay also partnered with plenty of Instagram creators who double as female icons. Using the #FaceAnything hashtag as their signature, Olay aims to spark a movement for all women to embrace natural and real beauty, as well as embody confidence despite unrealistic expectations placed on them.

Olay’s message comes across clearly, and it does so without putting a product front and center. The 28-day challenge applies to the various influencers Olay has partnered with, encouraging each one to break free from their normal beauty routines in exchange for Olay skincare products and a makeup-free event at the challenge’s termination. This allows Olay to subtly and more genuinely push its product line of skincare essentials on Instagram.

Influencer Cause Marketing Resonates With Young Consumers

The undeniably authentic nature of this type of marketing resonates with Millennials and Gen Z consumers, who hold brands to high standards and often find influencers more trustworthy than celebrities or other branded content. Through Olay’s masterful strategy, the brand speaks directly to this audience, in which 54% of millennial women prefer the “natural look,” while 84% believe social media acts as the driving force behind the definition of beauty.


  • Connect to a diverse audience (primarily female) to generate relatability through female icons.
  • Increase brand awareness to encourage women to embrace their real beauty and defy harmful societal expectations.
  • Establish brand affinity and subsequent product sales through Olay’s dedication to empowering women.


  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencers – Diverse group of heroines.