Every day, millions of Instagrammers take up a new hashtag challenge. Now, brands are taking notice. Most recently, skincare stalwart Olay launched a wave of campaigns in an effort to rebrand itself to younger generations. Here’s how the grandmotherly brand used social media as the projectile point of its millennial makeover.

With its navy of influencers, Olay has been promoting the launch of its Daily Facials via several social platforms. In February, for instance, the brand partnered with key figures such as NikkieTutorials and the effects were instantaneous. That month, social desktop traffic rose from 6% to 21% of total traffic, with 83% of the traffic coming from YouTube. In fact, the top five videos leading to Olay’s homepage were by influencer partners, with views ranging from almost 300,000 to over 9 million.

Capitalizing on social media’s obsession with hashtag challenges, the label put out its own 28-day challenge in late 2017, as observed in Gartner L2’s influencer engagement report. The hashtag, #olay28day, has enjoyed decent popularity on Instagram, with over 4,000 posts so far. Instead of calling it a day after the challenge ran its course, however, Olay compounded its reach by incorporating it with another campaign last month: #FaceAnything. Centered around female empowerment, the multichannel campaign featured a variety of influencers, from model Jillian Mercado to Olympics gymnast Aly Raisman. At the end of the #FaceAnything 28-day challenge, fifteen of Olay’s influencer partners made a splash at New York Fashion Week by walking the runway without a speck of makeup on—a satisfying way to highlight the campaign.

The synergistic effects of these two campaigns are evident. While Olay’s own branded account averaged only 573 interactions in August 2018, #olay28day posts by influencers in the same time period averaged 9,000 interactions each — the most popular at over 120,000 interactions.

Olay’s multi-pronged approach at shedding its reputation as the go-to skincare brand for older generations is reflected in its aggressive campaigns combining hashtags, viral challenges, and a diverse mix of influencers. For other brands looking to dust off their images and appear youthful once again, stretching out social media trends to snowball their effects is an Olay-approved way to start.

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