L’Oréal quietly launched a blog called FAB (Flair Artistry Beauty) last summer, targeting beauty enthusiasts with features on beauty apps, hair salons, coloring techniques and hair trends. What sets this effort apart from other content marketing blogs (The Estée Edit, Tory Daily, The Window) is the absence of any branding or links referencing L’Oréal products. It appears to be a deliberate choice, as International Corporate Communications Director for the brand’s Professional Products division Catherine Rose says “Fab-Beauty is not a promotional website about L’Oréal or our brands, but rather about humans that have been, and are still today, building the industry. Our content puts the spotlight on the expertise of all these ‘artisans of beauty.’”
Hair Care brands have been steadily increasing their investments in content in the past two years. Ninety-one of brands in L2’s 2015 Hair Care study feature video content compared to just 83% in 2014. And beauty brands are seeing results from giving content creators free reign. For example, Tory Daily profiles artists and Barneys’ The Window covers seemingly unrelated events like a Vanity Fair-hosted dinner for Spotlight. And Smashbox, which invites beauty vloggers to its studio space to make videos using beauty products from any brand, aggregated 13 million views from videos made its studio (compared to 2.8 million views for products made by the brand).
However, neither have taken the commerce and brand-free approach as far as L’Oréal. For example, vloggers are required to place a “Made at Smashbox” logo in exchange for using Smashbox’s studio. And The Window posts link to and suggest to items available for purchase on Barneys.com. Given the absence of even subtle brand mentions, it is unclear how L’Oréal is benefiting from this venture.