Madison Reed -
Confident is the New Beautiful

4 min, 6 sec

Amy Errett has never been a fan of the rules, and when she founded Madison Reed she set out to change the world of at-home hair color. In six short years, the brand has managed to do just that, and truly revolutionized its field. By taking the concept of realness to a new level and implementing How-to’s as a fundamental component of their creative strategy, Madison Reed has created a truly unique visual platform on which to communicate its message. 

Changing the Rules of Traditional Cosmetics Campaigning

Retouching is an elemental part of traditional cosmetics campaigning. But Madison Reed advocates for real beauty and real women, stating that if you’re a confident woman, you’re a beautiful woman, too. The company has taken these values and applied them in their visual strategy, under the hashtags #NoFilter #NoRetouch #NoProblem.

Madison Reed’s ‘Confident is the New Beautiful’ campaign on Youtube

Their ‘Confident is the New Beautiful’ campaign showcases their most important messaging; that real, everyday women are beautiful women with strong identities. Madison Reed ensures that the viewer knows that their product is for you - and that you don’t need to rely on a hair salon (or anyone else, for that matter) to take care of your color. By focusing on empowerment and providing a support system that sustains this feeling in their consumers is a brilliant way to build consumer trust.

It’s working, too. Traditionally, everyday, ‘ordinary’ women would have tended to feel left out of the cosmetics inner circle; the models’ beauty would be unattainable - which is exactly why the marketed product was necessary. Madison Reed turns this trend on its head and dares to be vulnerable, by promoting women that are comfortable in their natural skin. This is a smart move; a juxtaposition of the real and constructed, and a visual path to winning the hearts and loyalty of their customers.

Using How-to’s as a Visual Strategy Pillar

Today, How-to’s are a must in the cosmetics world, and different brands are approaching this reality using a whole range of visual blueprints. Madison Reed has transformed the traditionally separate boxes of how-to and advertisement, and created a fusion format that both educates and entices the viewer. Their YouTube channel is packed with helpful, informative and simple videos that ensure every customer gets the absolute most out of her product. 

In addition to the basic information, however, we find a deeper visual line of communication at work. Firstly, the models that are used in Madison Reed’s clips are, in every sense, real. Their hair is unbrushed before the treatment; it takes them a while to get their gloves on; they’re wearing a natural make-up look; the palette is calm and relaxed, as you’d expect from an at-home environment.

By indirectly emphasizing these things, the brand succeeds in furthering strengthening their argument that confident and real women are beautiful. By the time the lead has finished coloring her hair, you’re not even thinking all that much about Madison Reed. You simply smile with her at the end result, thinking that it must be lovely to feel so at home in your own skin.

The Real Hair Color Takes Centre Stage

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that a hair color brand would adopt a flashy, colorful visual strategy. Then again, Madison Reed isn’t your typical brand. Examining their palette, it quickly becomes clear that instead of having a product box play the hero, it’s finished, beautifully colored hair that’s given the chance to shine. Women - real, everyday women with alluring, confident identities - are lifted up and celebrated.

As an extension of the brand’s values, it’s a brilliant creative move. Madison Reed positions itself as an identity builder; a company that instills real confidence in its consumers, and that provides the support women need to feel beautiful as themselves, whomever that may be. Instead of focusing on the products it swings the spotlight outward, and shows off that finished, gorgeous hair. 

Madison Reed’s TV Ad on Youtube

In their latest TV ad, a handful of women show off their hair color in a classic before and after sequence - but there’s something different about this clip. Whether it’s the ‘Real People, Real Gorgeous’ tagline, the fact that the color palette is provided by the hair and hair alone, or founder Amy Errett’s confident voice-over, this piece makes the viewer believe in the Madison Reed message. The women are absolutely radiating with their beautifully diverse hair types and styles; a perfect accentuation of the brand’s confidence and empowerment values.

By directly implementing their brand values of empowerment and confidence in their visual strategy, Madison Reed is changing the way hair color is advertised. No retouching has become a key selling point for their clips, and using How-to’s with underlying messaging about how it’s OK to be yourself, they’re truly resonating with their audience.


Next, we’ll explore how two influencers were able to take their experience and turn it into a successful and simplistic cosmetic brand with an innovative and contemporary visual strategy.


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