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Interview: Supergoop! shares Asia ambitions as it moves away from the ‘advertise and then convert’ model

Interview: Supergoop! shares Asia ambitions as it moves away from the ‘advertise and then convert’ model

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Supergoop! was birthed in 2004, after founder Holly Thaggard saw her friend, at the young age of 29, receive the diagnosis of skin cancer. At that point, sunscreen products were largely regarded as a sleepy category where consumers were used to lathering the sticky substances across their faces and bodies before a quick dip by the pool – not so much for their everyday use. Fast forward today, Supergoop! is now an international brand known for its ease of daily use and of course, promise of using clean ingredients, feel-good formulas and product innovation.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Natalia Obolensky (pictured), APAC general manager of Supergoop! shared that the brand today has seen meteoric rise in its awareness in Asia, from being a top ranked skincare brand in Sephora across Southeast Asia, to the #1 SPF Tmall global skincare brand launch in 2020 in China. Obolensky, who will be speaking at our Digital Marketing Asia conference, explained that the company is firm on its mission to educate consumers on the importance of protecting your skin every single day. She added that given the diverse nature of Asia, the marketing team is ensuring its messaging and products reach local markets through tailored communication.

Joining the team in February this year, Obolensky is currently based in Hong Kong. While she holds officially holds the GM of APAC title, having a small team and working on a relatively new brand in Asia means that she is often wearing multiple hats. Nonetheless, a large chunk of her time is dedicated to the brand’s wider APAC strategy, from brand, product and trade marketing strategies, to pricing, to product development to operations.

“The ability to really get into all the elements of the business and drive change and results is one of the things I love about my job,” she shared. With the Asia's beauty market being so immensely cluttered, it isn't always easy to stand out. As such, Supergoop! is looking to redefine the category it plays in to one that goes well beyond SPF, and into skincare and beauty sectors as well.

“While there are many other brands in the market with SPF in their products, but we are uniquely placed to deepen knowledge around skin protection by educating consumers, ensuring we have a product for everyone with our more than 40 different formulas, and bring a sunny, positive attitude to a sleepy sunscreen industry,” she explained.

Join our Digital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Obolensky will also be speaking on 23 November 2021 on Cross-border digital commerce: Powering up your brand’s digital presence in China.  Check out the agenda here. 

Creating content that converts

Obolensky added that currently digital marketing plays a big role in its strategy to expand and reach new audiences, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.  Last month, the brand hosted a virtual pool party in Southeast Asia to launch its latest Glowscreen Body SPF 40. The sunscreen brand created a virtual space called "SPF & Glow" comprising elements of a pool party on the online video chat platform Kumospace. 

With countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia continuing their battle against the pandemic, Supergoop! decided to embrace the virtual space with new technology and find new ways to engage with key opinion and media leaders in Southeast Asia. Utilising the interactive features, Supergoop! dressed a virtual outdoor space with Supergoop!-branded furniture and a swimming pool, and streamed the party on its YouTube and Spotify channels, and provided an avenue for guests to intermingle and discover more about the launch.

About 140 key opinion and media leaders across Singapore and Malaysia were present for the pool party, which allowed them to also engage with the brand's founder Thaggard.


Without commenting on her current spend on digital, Obolensky says that consumer spending has definitely shifted online in a big way in 2020 and 2021, and Supergoop expects the trend to continue. As such, it will be heavily investing in digital/social with targeted online social campaigns, paid social campaigns and expansion to newer channels such as Tiktok.

“In my opinion, we are shifting away from an ‘advertise and then convert’ model to a ‘create content and convert’ model,” Obolensky said. This means brands should no longer think it is enough to have more traffic or drive footfall, as consumers are increasingly looking to consume content and converting from that content journey.

“We've seen this with the rise of livestreaming in China but we also see it with the increase in sales coming from long and short-form video platforms across the region,” she added. She elaborated further that today, the best digital campaigns are those that “feel easy and natural”, and resonate with the KOLs or celebrities helping to spread the message, while being targeted to a specific audience. “It's very difficult to be something to everyone, so being really clear about what the message is and who the specific audience is, is important,” she added.

While SuperGoop’s audience is essentially anyone exposed to daylight or blue light, from a marketing perspective, it typically thinks about specific target audiences on a product level.

For its sports oriented range, Play Every Day, it for example, focuses on surfers between the ages of 20 and 30, and run a campaign very specific to them. Similarly, for its more beauty leaning products such as the iconic Unseen sunscreen, it targets Millennial and Gen Z makeup lovers shopping at Sephora.

“We are careful to ensure that our messaging is really inclusive though, so while it's designed with one cohort in mind, it should never make any feel alienated,” she said.

This is particularly important, she explains, when speaking to APAC audiences. “The average consumer in Tokyo to Shanghai and from Hong Kong to Jakarta and Sydney are all so different from each other,” she said, adding that in particular she is most inspired by the knowledge and passion of consumers in China, Japan, Korea who put in an extensive amount of research to make informed decisions.  

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