July 26, 2023
The Evolution of Anti-Aging Ads: What the TikTok Aging Filter Means for the Industry

If you’ve tried out the viral aged filter on TikTok (and absolutely hated the results), you’re not alone. With over 13 million videos under the filter, reactions range from shock to despair, and many beginning to wonder what they can do to mitigate the effects of aging. Naturally, people reach out to skincare — anti-aging serums, moisturizers, night creams — you name it.


synthesizing vast data into actionable insights that reflect each market's unique cultural and economic backdrop


grasping the distinct consumer perspectives that these diverse regions offer

The Business of Immortality

Viral filters may come and go, but the demand for anti-aging solutions has remained constant amidst changing consumer needs. The quest for timelessness transcends generations, with individuals of all ages seeking remedies for youthful, radiant skin.

In response, the beauty and skincare industry has developed countless anti-aging products over the years. Brands have continuously innovated and incorporated scientific advancements to offer personalized solutions for diverse anti-aging concerns.

But have these brands also adapted their positioning of these products to reflect shifting mindsets and cultural changes?

To find out, we used Sphere’s Ad Evaluation app to conduct a frame-by-frame analysis of popular anti-aging commercials over time and determined the brand archetypes and values present.

From Romantic Ideal to Everyday Accessibility

These commercials were released in 2010 by Neutrogena, L’Oreal, and Estee Lauder, and are largely centered around the Lover archetype. These ads feature close-up snapshots of flawless faces, creating a sensory experience that alludes to the satisfaction gained from achieving physical beauty. Overall, the soft and dreamy visuals feel indulgent, romantic, and sensual.

In contrast, the ad released in 2022 by NIVEA featured a shift in focus to the Everyperson archetype by placing women in natural-looking everyday scenarios — talking and laughing with friends and family. Everyone wants to look young for as long as they can, but most cannot relate to an airbrushed model.

By going for a more realistic approach, it conveys the idea that good skin care is attainable for everyone, and places emphasis on the product’s effectiveness rather than the glamour surrounding it.

Our AI also detected that both Olay’s 2020 and Neutrogena’s 2019 commercials had a myriad of archetypes, ranging from the Everyperson to the Hero. Our take? Ads are changing, and taking on contrasting archetypes that portray everyday people taking charge.

Prioritizing People over Products

Older commercials tend to give emphasis on the product itself. At the time, new types of products were being introduced to the public, so commercials exhibited a more groundbreaking and innovative take — getting consumers to focus on how they’ve got exciting new ingredients and formulas by focusing heavily on their products.

Newer ads however, have evolved to become more people-centric. They’ve shifted their focus to create more inspiration and empowerment — while maintaining the outlook of an everyday person. This creates a stronger emotional connection with the target audience, and positions the brand and its products in a more accessible and relatable manner.

Focusing on Inclusivity

Since newer commercials feature people and faces more, it’s interesting to note that they have also moved towards inclusivity, and have made an intentional effort to portray a multitude of ethnicities and ages in their ads.

Clarins’ 2020 ad is one clear example, where they’ve made a concerted effort to include a multi-ethnic satisfaction test to demonstrate how their product workbrokens for all. Traditionally, models are young, and have no visible marks on their skin — Clarins has those boundaries in a single ad. Consumers can identify themselves with the people displayed in the ad, and suddenly, great skin feels attainable.

As consumers gaze upon their “aged” faces, brands will need to ask themselves: what kind of ad is relatable and accessible enough to capture that feeling of being able to take charge of the (visible) future?

Curated digital profiles:

-Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (US)

-Weibo and Douyin (China)

Pulled 400 million unique searches to estimate the growth of each segment

Used Quilt.AI’s Sphere language and image capabilities to categorise lifestyle areas into specific segments

Glamour Seekers

These consumers are confident, bold, and comfortable with modern masculinity. They also often turn to social media to express their personal style and interests.

Actionable Insight: Collaborate with high-profile fashion influencers to create vibrant, trend-setting campaigns that resonate with this segment's desire for attention and admiration.

Vanity Vanguards

Highly image-driven, these individuals often seek validation through their appearance and are likely to engage heavily with both grooming and fashion products.

Actionable Insight:Leverage digital marketing strategies that feature before-and-after visuals and testimonials that showcase the transformative power of the products

Conscious Icons

These men aim to be recognized as modern, open-minded, and sensitive – embodying the image of "the woke good guy" in today's society by actively participating in movements related to activism and gender equality.

Actionable Insight:Design marketing campaigns that highlight their participation in these movements, showcasing products that enable them to express and amplify their desired social identities.

Youthful Trendsetters

They value beauty while still maintaining traditional masculine ideals of what it means to be good-looking. These men also tend to seek out methods of maintaining their youthful appearances.

Actionable Insight:Market products that boost physical appeal and suit active lifestyles, and focus on dynamic marketing that highlights masculine elegance.

Trusted Patrons

Despite seeing gender in traditionally binary terms, these men aren’t afraid of behaving in more feminine manners. They own their uniqueness and tend to be deeply loyal to brands that affirm their identity.

Actionable Insight:Focusing on brand narratives that celebrate individuality and personal expression will better engage this segment. Brands can also offer personalized services to maintain their commitment.

Innovation Advocates

As consumers who value knowledge, they embrace technology and innovation that enhances their lives. Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, they prefer brands that offer cutting-edge solutions that reflect their own mentality.

Actionable Insight:Market products to this segment by emphasizing innovation, utility, and exclusivity. Brands can focus on how their products integrate the latest technology and engage these men through intelligent content that speaks to their curiosity.

Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.
Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.
Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.
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