Celebrity Brand Marketing 101: Ciara’s OAM skin

Ciara has entered the beauty industry with her skincare brand, OAM skin (aka “On a Mission” skin) -- a line of products based on the ever-popular vitamin C.

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The line offers products including a cleanser, eye cream, and moisturizer. She follows in many celebrities’ footsteps; see Winnie Harlow’s CAY Skin, Brad Pitt’s Le Domaine, and Jared Leto’s Twenty-Nine Palms.

But somewhat like her predecessors, Ciara has yet to explode OAM skin into an unforgettable, must-have beauty brand. It’s a good skincare line, so why is that? We’ve been thinking it over, and we have a few guesses.

What Is OAM Skin?

OAM “On a Mission” skin was created for a simple reason: Ciara’s goal “to create a simple routine for all skin tones.”

While it sounds simple, she’s filling a gap in a flourishing market. With the skincare industry estimated by Statista to be worth more than $19B in 2022, there are few brands focused on brightening – not whitening – and evening out skin tone.

It also supports Ciara’s own philanthropic cause: a percentage of each sale goes toward her and husband Russell Wilson’s charity, Why Not You Foundation. The nonprofit aims to provide support to the youth through access to education, health, and food-security initiatives. 

What’s In OAM Skin’s Formula?

Collaboration amongst skincare experts, dermatologists, research scientists, and an MIT engineer led to the formulation: a blend of three forms of vitamin C. L-ascorbic acid protects from UVA/UVB rays, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate offers anti-aging benefits, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate encourages collagen production. Each ingredient helps brighten and even out skin tone, giving consumers a radiant, clear complexion.

And while there’s no official definition of “clean” in the beauty industry, the products’ formula is free of parabens, sulfates, fragrance, and dyes; it’s cruelty-free, too. 

The Surprise Announcement of AOM Skin

Ciara did a good job of keeping OAM skin a secret – scroll through her Instagram, and you won’t find any Taylor-Swift-like easter eggs. Sure, there’s glowing skin and fresh-faced selfies… but no logos hidden anywhere or a subtle “C” showing up every now and then.

On August 29th, Ciara posted a carousel announcement of OAM skin on her personal Instagram as a complete surprise. The first photo: a bold, makeup-free image of the star; the second, an image of the black-and-white-branded products on a black background. The only color: deep pops of primary and secondary colors on the packaging. 

In her caption, she explained that the five products featured the proprietary vitamin C formula mentioned above, and that the “Radiance System” was “years in the making.”

There was also a video of Ciara’s fresh face, with comment upon comment popping up, desperately asking for Ciara’s skincare secrets and lauding her complexion. The next slide read “Here it is…” and led to OAM skin’s logo.

OAM created its own Instagram as well, populating the page with hints at her new venture prior to the August 29th announcement. A TikTok account was made, too, with the same announcement video posted to Ciara’s personal Instagram.

Marketing Tactics That Are Working

Look on OAM skin’s site, and their social media leads to three social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. OAM skin has its own hashtag on Twitter, started by its founder, but no official account.

The TikTok account currently has a little over 1,000 followers, and videos average about 400-600 views; the second video posted has 251,000 views, while another video showing Ciara’s before-and-after OAM skin has 707,000 views. The discrepancy hints at a use of TikTok Promote, and an effective use at that.

Ciara has also been smart in promoting the beauty brand by utilizing fellow celebrity partnerships.

For example, influencer Monet McMichael (with 1.8M followers) posted a paid partnership TikTok video promoting the skincare line with Ciara, using the hashtag #OAMPartner. And in another video shared on both OAM skin’s TikTok and his own, MannyMua (1.5M followers) partners up with the founder to discuss her skincare line. Again: #OAMPartner. Ciara is using her celebrity to draw in more celebrity – and the audiences are watching.

Marketing Tactics That Aren’t Working

On Instagram, OAM skin utilizes the Reels function, but Ciara’s socials team chooses to use many static posts – something Instagram has begun pushing less. While stunning, her static and carousel posts reach between 50-600 likes. Her Reels, on the other hand, range from 70-2,000 likes.

These are large gaps in numbers, and less-consistent branding could be behind this. While the photos are based around the colors of the packaging, there’s a lack of cohesion between posts. It doesn’t feel like you’re looking at a skincare line with its marketing nailed down, posts scheduled in advance with attention to aesthetic; it’s more of an educated-guess, spaghetti-at-a-wall look.

And though there are glam moments, the general vibe of Ciara’s promos on TikTok? Low-key, realistic, factual, and non-gimmicky. This could be why her videos average a low amount of views and her following hasn’t rocketed exponentially, or why there are no viral videos.

It’s not a bad thing; clearly she’d prefer to grow her following organically, rather than by boosting every single video. It does make you wonder, though: how can a celebrity as big and as business-savvy as Ciara only receive 1,000 followers in more than one month on a platform that loves up on celebrities?

Alternatively, it could be that the brand’s marketing simply isn’t memorable. Stark color contrasts have been done. Black and white is a new classic. And the logo is, as one Twitter user said, reminiscent of Pac-Man and a little confusing. Without memorable marketing, how will consumers know it’s Ciara’s OAM skincare line on the shelves, and not just another beauty brand?

The fact is, minimalism and modernity aren’t always the right choice, even when creating an innovative product.

What Do OAM Skin’s Reviewers Say?

Sure, the celebrities are raving and the articles are flowing in. But what do reviewers have to say about the line? Those lesser-known TikTokers and review blogs?

The answer is… not much.

Despite a major splash in the press during the week of release – Allure, Byrdie, Elle, Vogue – the smaller consumers’ thoughts regarding OAM skin have been missing. It’s as if there was a major splash and push of press and ads to make a ruckus… and now, its popularity has slowed and almost silenced since September 16th, the day after its official launch.

Generally, smaller TikTokers and the rare blog say the products work. But that’s about all you’ll find on the internet or social media apps.

Takeaways Regarding OAM Skin’s Marketing Strategies

Ciara is doing some things right with her skincare line, definitely – partnering with celebrities is huge and ups brand awareness. But if those outside of the celebrity market are quiet, it’s an indicator that something has gone awry and isn’t working – and you need to find the root of the problem, stat.

Or, perhaps, there simply isn’t a market for vitamin C right now. And if you want to create a market, marketing is critical – something Ciara hasn’t nailed with her beauty brand; at least, not yet.

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