Brand Strategy

Ouai is expanding its St. Barts line, one OOH placement at a time

The brand, building on last summer’s campaign, is taking its ads to the skies and the sea.
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4 min read

For the second year in a row, Ouai is making summer all about St. Barts—this time by land, air, and sea.

Earlier this summer, the hair and body-care brand released a St. Barts hair and body mist and doubled down on some of its marketing strategies from last summer’s campaign for its St. Barts body cream and body cleanser, like in-flight media on the airline JetBlue. This year’s campaign seems to be about embracing travel in all its forms, including putting billboards on boats in Miami and hosting sampling events out of Adgile trucks in New York.

While there are digital aspects to the campaign, which wraps at the end of the month, OOH has been crucial to marketing the St. Barts line, both by capturing people’s attention and through conveying the feelings of “accessible luxury” and being on vacation, said Nicole Solórzano, VP of brand marketing at Ouai.

So far, Solórzano said the hair and body mist has been Ouai’s biggest release at Sephora. The mist, which sold out for a time, has been the brand’s best-selling product since it came out.

“It all goes back to the fragrance itself and the storytelling around [it],” Solórzano said. “People just want to feel like they’re on vacation. They want that warm and fuzzy, yummy feeling.”

One if by air

Passengers who flew JetBlue last summer might recognize the Ouai ads that are currently running on the airline’s domestic flights. Solórzano said it was a strategic decision for Ouai to use some of the same visuals and taglines from last year as it builds what she called a new “franchise or sub-brand” for its St. Barts products.

“We’ve done hard work to build equity around this distinct point of view, voice, tone, and proposition for St. Barts,” she said. “Carrying through some of that language for us, even though it’s a new SKU but still the same scent, was really important so that instantly when people see the media or see the marketing, they go, ‘Oh, that’s St. Barts.’”

The JetBlue in-flight ads, which are running for two months, display right after the airline’s safety video, which Solórzano said delivers 100% share of voice and helps ensure high visibility. Last year’s JetBlue ad ran for one month and led to what Solórzano said was a surprising amount of people posting organically about the campaign, which helped inform the decision to extend it this year.

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“[Passengers] were capturing video of the video that was playing or capturing a quick picture of it and tagging Ouai on social,” she said, adding that the brand is seeing the same thing happen this year.

With so many people traveling in the summer, Brian Rappaport, founder and CEO of OOH company Quan Media Group, which worked with Ouai on both St. Barts campaigns, told us that in-flight and in-airport advertising is “kind of a no-brainer” for brands.

“It’s hacking your way onto a flight in a really smart, strategic way,” he said. “I think it’s just another way to hit a captive audience that many brands wouldn’t think of.”

In-airport advertisements were being considered at Ouai last year, according to Glossy, and Solórzano told us that planning for that remains “actively underway.”

Two if by sea

On the ground, this year’s campaign also features floating digital billboards, which are running up and down the South Beach and Brickell neighborhoods in Miami with taglines like, “Smell like you’re that beach.”

“If you’re out on the beach at Soho House, or if you’re out at the W Hotel on the beach, you’ll be able to read every single word in the ad,” Rappaport said.

The floating format isn’t every beachgoer’s favorite sight, and it’s been banned in other markets like New York, but Rappaport said that the floating billboards offer “a great way for brands to really make a statement in the Miami market.” Ouai is also advertising near the beach in other markets like Santa Monica and Venice Beach in LA with wild postings and billboards.

Solórzano said there is “lots more to come in the world of travel” with St. Barts’s marketing. In the meantime, those who have yet to see this year’s campaign might at least be able to smell it. Ouai is sending out scratch-and-sniff mailers to potential customers, Solórzano said.

“Hopefully,” she said, “once you smell that fragrance, we have you hooked.”

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