Clé de Peau Beauté: Martha Stewart and the Thirst Trap


Campaign Summary

Clé de Peau Beauté is a luxury beauty brand. The brand wanted to appeal to a younger generation and that meant reaching them when and where they go for beauty tips and inspiration: TikTok and Instagram. But how do you get millennials to stop scrolling and buy a $75 concealer? To launch its daring campaign, Clé de Peau Beauté knew there was only one person to work with, someone with influence who could turn heads: Martha Stewart.



Martha Stewart had been a long-time fan of Clé de Peau Beauté, and was the perfect partner for the brand's TikTok debut to:

  • Make waves on social and beyond.
  • Build brand awareness and consideration.
  • Promote selected prestige products.
  • Drive consumers to our site.

Last summer, her selfie had the Internet cheering and calling it a Thirst Trap: a sexy photograph or flirty message posted on social media for the intent of causing others to publicly profess their attraction.

Target Audience:

The target was the beauty audience on social media.

Younger audiences are likely to use luxury products when they're used and trusted by an icon like Martha Stewart, especially since she was ready to lean into the "thirst trap" moniker from her infamous selfie.

The juxtaposition of a high-end beauty brand on a fun, young platform was ripe for humor. In the content, the brand would speak to the audience using the social behavior of beauty influencers but surprise them by having the queen of unexpected turns perform them.

The tricky thing would be to do it all and debut the brand's TikTok presence with authenticity — first impressions are everything in the beauty world.

Gen Z focus groups were established and did rounds of script revisions, fine-tuning the delivery. The nuanced approach combined Martha's universal appeal, trendy-but-effortlessly-cool TikTok poses and cheeky humor.

Each online sub-culture has its own trends and language. The brand delved into the world of beauty and make-up influencers to identify social behavior that was instantly recognizable but also likely to last long enough to stay relevant for the campaign. Clé de Peau Beauté incorporated more language from beauty and youth culture like "spilling the tea" and "living" for something.

Clé de Peau Beauté leaned into the term "aunty" that gen Z is using to describe women who are 40 and older — who are aspirational, cultured, and living inclusive and vivacious lives. They are often forgotten in mainstream media, and the brand loves this refreshing obsession with fabulous middle-aged women that gen Z respects and trusts.

Creative Strategy:

Clé de Peau Beauté's TikTok videos had to look native to the platform but still perform like ads. Clé de Peau Beauté leaned into Martha's genuine passion for the products and her engaging personality, tongue-in-cheek humor, and exquisite taste. TikTok can be a tricky platform to navigate. Users are quick to mock inauthentic, unrelatable content.

First impressions last and the campaign would set the mood amongst the multi-generational TikTok audience. A gen Z focus group ensured the script wouldn't make Martha come off as trying to be a "cool mom," but rather her beloved self as a badass aunty.

Martha had already set the tone with her thirst trap selfie the previous summer, so Clé de Peau Beauté needed to incorporate the social trends of how-to beauty tutorials, lifestyle-guides and the choreography, and body language that's native to the platform. With Martha executing them it was first humorous, then iconic and lastly, influential.


This was the brand's first foray onto TikTok. The campaign was its best performing social and marketing campaign for the U.S. market.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Clé de Peau Beauté created five entertaining videos. They couldn't be too trendy so as to be forgotten in a week, but they had to resonate with major moods in the beauty space.

Its first video wowed the world with Martha's acknowledgement and ownership of the Thirst Trap title and explained how she achieved it with some help from Clé de Peau. The following four videos featured different products and played on Martha's newfound status as a classy, desirable TikTok influencer, able to hold her own, and outshine any other beauty tutorialist.

The stealthy approach camouflaged all the advertising best practices by using in-app features like the Jessie VO feature, adding Clé de Peau as the secret phrase to get the perfect thirst trap photo, using the brand name in the Cover Thumbnail, and creating a custom animated logo in the VFX background.

Mobile Execution:

Clé de Peau Beauté delved into the world of beauty and make-up influencers to identify social behavior that was instantly recognizable but also likely to last long enough to stay relevant for the campaign.

The brand baked in some common TikTok video effects (with added class) like smooth transitions, ASMR, dazzling backgrounds, and the clone trail effect. These spoke the non-verbal language its audience was tuned into.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The brand competes in a fiercely contested space since lockdowns forced former office workers to appear on camera all day in front of clients and colleagues. This has led to a surge in competition to be people's preferred makeup and beauty brand.

The campaign proved successful on social media with the first video garnering over 5 million views in the first 5 days. In total, across all content, Clé de Peau Beauté exceeded 78 million views on TikTok and Instagram. The campaign beat brand lift beauty category benchmarks by 222 percent (Kantar).

Beyond the platforms, Clé de Peau Beauté sparked 43 press articles, 3 billion impressions and, in February 2022, Clé de Peau Beauté's Concealer was its top selling product.

Its campaign page was the top viewed landing page of all time on Martha's personal handle also gained 200,000 new followers during the campaign's run time.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Creator/Influencer Marketing, Social Media Marketing | Awards: NA Gold Winner, NA Silver Winner