Ad of the Day | Danish Beauty Pioneer Nilens Jord Challenges Make-Up Industry to "Look Beyond Beauty"

Ad of the Day | Danish Beauty Pioneer Nilens Jord Challenges Make-Up Industry to "Look Beyond Beauty"

Nov. 18, 2022

Legacy Danish makeup and skin care brand Nilens Jord has been committed to making unfussy, paraben and perfume-free products since the 1980s (a time when natural beauty products were not in vogue). The Scandinavian brand now has an important mission: to change entrenched attitudes towards women by asking us to "look beyond beauty" and instead focus on female achievements. A surprising statement for a cosmetic brand, perhaps - but it’s one that echoes the company’s pioneering spirit and its ambition to change the beauty industry from within.

The message takes the form of a new global brand platform, created together with its lead agency, Copenhagen-based Twenty, which will be rolled out across Europe as part of Nilens Jord’s global ambitions which also include product launches on the horizon in the UK and Europe.

The bold new strategy is led by a 75 second film that follows Sara, a personification of every girl or woman contemplating life’s biggest dreams and achievements, which range from being the first woman to set foot on the moon, to winning four grand slams in tennis or becoming the richest woman in the world. 

However, this everywoman is also confronted with a depressing reality that most, if not all, females will recognize: other people’s obsession with what she looks like rather than what she is about to - or already has - accomplished. 

The film’s narrative is driven by questions that the different iterations of Sara are faced with: when she finally sets foot on the moon, her achievement is overshadowed by a reporter asking: "What is the shade of your lipstick?", while over in the delivery room, having given birth to triplets, the midwife remarks: "Your skin is so smooth - what’s your secret?" 

Incredibly, all these questions are based on insights from field interviews with real women in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK. 

Adding further authenticity to the campaign, the women in the film are all street cast, the midwife is a genuine working midwife and the teenage tennis player plays tennis and teaches younger kids. 

An outdoor and print campaign challenges preconceptions and asks the viewer to look beyond what first meets the eye. After turning a corner or flipping a page, the viewer sees what truly lies behind the beautiful face on the billboard: the full person, defined by achievements and persona, rather than looks.

Nilens Jord’s new brand platform is the starting point of a long term commitment to transforming the beauty industry from within. When celebrating empowerment, the beauty industry rarely goes beyond looks. While this may have created a more diverse public image of what women can look like, it hasn’t changed society’s perception of what women can and do achieve. 

Jakob Marum, Managing Director, Nilens Jord commented:

"When we limit girls and women to their looks we limit their potential. This is not a campaign, but a holistic new direction for the brand, one that will inform everything from partnerships, to how the brand shows its products, and the women it casts to help tell that story. We were beauty activists when we introduced perfume and paraben-free products, while other players in the beauty industry focused on colors and 80s trends without caring about the consequences for the make-up user, and we continue to be true to that spirit in everything we do."


Nilens Jord’s long term vision is to promote a more diverse and healthier beauty ideal that moves beyond skin deep empowerment - which urges women to be accepted for what they look like - to real empowerment, which focuses on respecting and celebrating women for what they achieve.

Farah Dib, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Twenty added:

“I think most women can recognise themselves in the absurdity of questions thrown our way time and time again – whether we’re asked to smile more, or pre-emptively think about what outfit we wear to increase our chances of being taken seriously in business meetings. It has been incredibly eye opening to speak to women and unearth their uniform experience of objectification and lack of empowerment. It has been equally rewarding to work with a legacy brand like Nilens Jord that is willing to tackle these difficult questions head on. I’m immensely proud of the whole team at Twenty, Nilens Jord and our production partners Holy Ravioli for making this work and the contribution it makes to a debate about female empowerment, possible.”

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