Pushing the boundaries of beauty advertising, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, an on-the-rise brand sold in stores such as Sephora, has been making heads turn with their first-ever ad campaign featuring celebrity drag queens Willam, Detox and Vicky Vox, in lieu of traditional models.
What sets Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ ad campaign apart from others, said company founder David Klasfeld, is the nature of the way the drag queens are presented: as ordinary makeup models.
“What was really important for shooting was that nothing was over-the-top. These were beauty shots. In the past, whenever I’ve seen any sort of drag used to promote cosmetics, there’s always an overwhelming use of camp. We just focused on the makeup. These [drag queens] do beautiful makeup. They wear beautiful makeup and they are trendsetters,” said David.
Creating a feeling of inclusiveness is paramount for David, who intentionally made the decision to go forward with such a bold advertising move right at the cusp of his company’s newfound international celebrity.
“It was very intentionally timed. For me, it was important to set the pace for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics as people are taking notice of the brand. We may be a less-than-traditional company, but the products really do work for everybody. It’s not that we are aggressively pursuing the drag market, but we are just letting everybody know that everyone can use our cosmetics.”
Since the start of the ad campaign, sales have been steadily increasing, proving that people are embracing alternative types of beauty representation.
“[The response to the campaign] has been overwhelmingly positive and it was something I was concerned about. The world generally seems more accepting,” added David.
Due to the campaign’s success, Willam, Detox and Vicky Vox are slated to be featured again in an upcoming holiday ad campaign; plans for other non-traditional models are in the works as well.
“It’s time to start showing more diversity in advertising. Is it really the wisest thing to use a teenage girl as a model? We actually have plans to work with models that are more mature. It really is time to give everyone else their shot and allow everyone the chance to see themselves reflected in an ad campaign. After all, our average customer is a woman who is in her mid-thirties to mid-forties.”
While David acknowledges that men do make up some percentage of sales for his company—as well as the multibillion-dollar makeup industry as a whole—the lack of hard data makes it difficult to know the exact figure.
“There really isn’t that much data collected on this, but I know it’s not as much as it could be,” he said.
Still, David is hoping that his progressive campaign will inspire not only the consumer but other makeup companies to follow suit.
“I hope we don’t have exclusivity on this [type of campaign]. I’d like us to create waves. It’s about the ability to inspire and welcome.”