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#MARKies Awards MY 2021 highlight: Kérastase comes to the rescue in hairy times

#MARKies Awards MY 2021 highlight: Kérastase comes to the rescue in hairy times

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The pandemic and initial round of movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia resulted in the closure of salons, which disrupted Kérastase’s plans to launch its Genesis series, which was touted to combat hair loss. But the brand decided it would not let the pandemic hold it back. Witnessing the rise in online shopping among consumers, Kérastase worked with Beatnk to roll-out an Instagram Story takeover with KOLs in Malaysia.

This effort led to the team being ranked one of the finalists for Most Effective Use – Influencers/KOLs at A+M’s MARKies Awards 2021 for Kérastase IG Roadblock. Here’s how the team did it.


Kérastase Malaysia was looking forward to a big 2020 as the brand was scheduled to launch its Genesis series, a product range designed to address hair loss. It was touted by Kérastase to be an industry game-changer, and a product best experienced through a four-step in-salon treatment supported by a home care repertoire.

Citing statistics from L’Oréal’s R&D team, Kérastase said 88% of women globally experiences hair loss and this condition impacted 40% of them by the time they reached the age of 35. However, hair loss is seen as a condition that is shameful, and inconvenient, to a point where 90% of women who lose their hair do not treat it. 

Done in collaboration with Beatnk, Kérastase’s main objectives for its campaign were to educate, engage, and recruit younger luxury consumers by driving salon visits to experience the Genesis treatment.

While Kérastase’s global direction identified with Asian women from Indonesia, China, and India, the team in Malaysia wanted to tailor the experience to local consumers. Its market had a 69% Malay female audience of which nine out of 10 use the hijab daily. This group of individuals, known as Gen M, was identified for the purpose of the campaign. 

According to Kérastase, Gen M spends around nine hours a day on average in conditions that affect the scalp, developing 3G problems – gatal, gugur, and gris. Being hijab wearers did not mean that haircare was secondary. In fact, beautiful hair and the need for a healthy scalp became more important than skincare and make-up when donning the hijab. 

Aside from the hijab impacting their hair condition, it also came with personal challenges of moral policing, societal challenges, and spousal expectations, Kérastase said. According to the company, all these factors culminated in a very negative environment. 


Kérastase identified that women wanted to feel confident, hijab-wearing or otherwise, and that being fashionable and wearing a hijab were not mutually exclusive. Hence, the brand wanted the women of Malaysia to feel empowered in addressing their hair condition and to be brave in their decisions and choices, while at the same time appealing to their me-time habits.

The brand also launched the consumer statement “Be Bravely Me” that identified with its communication objectives. 

Kérastase and Beatnk had initially planned to adopt a comprehensive omni-channel strategy that would engage advocates, drive awareness and educate the new potential audience for a trial or experience through the activation of salon and consumer partnerships. However, the pandemic hit, throwing a wrench in its plans. 

Not only did the pandemic result in a total lockdown, it also forced the team to wait with no end in sight, as well as causing an increase in consumers being afraid of heading outdoors. This led to a tremendous dip in salon traffic, leaving Kérastase’s products on shelves, and forcing the company to slash the launch budgets by two-thirds. 

However, Kérastase and Beatnk understood the show had to go on at some point and that the Genesis series still needed to be introduced into the market. Hence, it went about solving the question of how to deliver on its core consumer promise when in-salon experiences were impossible. 

In the midst of the first MCO, Malaysians were quick to adopt digital platforms, resulting in a surge in online shopping. At the same time, Kérastase also witnessed the dependency on content to engage with other human beings was quickly becoming fundamentally more important than it had ever been before.

The moment salons were given the green light to operate, Kérastase created the opportunity for its audience to experience the salon treatment vicariously, and ensured it had the products to trial within the comforts and safety of their homes. 

The brand identified 34 KOLs based on age-group aspirations and category relevance, such as haircare and hijab-wearing, to ensure non-racial biases, before taking Gen Ms on a journey of product usage by conducting an Instagram Story takeover. This was done in three parts across a single day for each KOL. 


With its identified KOLs, Kérastase and Beatnk started by sending them customised creative drops with the full range of products, a personalised welcome card, and several knick-knacks just for fun, activating the most traditional of KOL content – the unboxing. 

Thereafter, Kérastase took over their respective Instagram Stories for a day, sequentially across 34 paid KOLs over four weekends. The brand took consumers through a content mix of unboxing, the process of booking an appointment, undergoing the treatment, and expressing satisfaction with the product treatment outcome. 

To ensure the brand messaging wasn’t lost through the KOLs content, Kérastase armed them with its global assets and Giphy stickers to be used and intertwined with its own. Guided, but not scripted, the full-day content by KOLs saw individual journeys that appealed to different audiences. 

At the closure of all their journeys, the KOLs called upon consumers to register their trial sets and to try the treatment at home. According to Kérastase, these three steps saw an average of 30 15-second content pieces delivered by 34 KOLs in four weeks. A total of 15,300 seconds of Kérastase content was delivered continuously across four weekends, slightly more than watching two two-hour movies. 


The campaign achieved a total PR value of around RM800,000, and a total reach of more than 520,000 Malaysian women. According to Kérastase, its average engagement rate was 7.74% and there were more than 4,000 sign-ups for the new series, along with more than 2,000 samples collected.

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