Advertising health & beauty products in Iran directly depends on the market which is second to Saudi Arabia in the MENA region, recently enjoying 6% year-on-year growth. This growth is irrespective of international sanctions placed on Iran which have, as a result, created two main market shifts. The first of which is a shift in product availability and the second being the purchasing ability of consumers as a result of high inflation — currently around 48.7% annually.
Iranian consumers aspire to purchase international health & beauty products, in part due to the assured quality, but the recent market shifts have restricted access to these goods. This has come at a time when shifts in consumer knowledge have, in part, led to an increased preference for natural products. Additionally, new technologies have provided increased access to greater knowledge about ingredients and processes of production. Similarly, consumers have increased exposure to west-leaning, wide-reaching advertising campaigns by big players such as Dove. Partly as a result of the new-found demand for natural ingredients and conscientious brands, several new products containing Argon oils have come to the market, with supporting advertising on unofficial satellite channels.
The Iranian manufacturer Pergas Teb, have around 1000 employees and has been active in the health & beauty market for around 8 years with their brand Lá Farrerr. This company is more than familiar with these predicaments yet saw an opportunity to cater to the local audience with products containing a natural oil superior to Argon oil. Advertising health & beauty products in Iran let them discover an innovation story, presented to an international standard that could not only meet the zeitgeist for natural products but also replaced the consumer story lost due to sanctions.
National restrictions on visual and verbal communication are part of everyday life for advertising in Iran, but within the health & beauty category, extra sensitivity exists. For example, using human bodies is very complicated, in that natural body shapes cannot be shown. With respect to word usage, many common words cannot be used in adverts, for example, the international campaign for Unilever’s Lux soap could not use the translation of “tempt them with your delicious soft skin”, because the translated words for, “tempt”, “delicious”, “soft” and “skin” were forbidden. As a result of these restrictions, advertisers will often resort to using pack shots with direct descriptions or use creative yet occasionally misunderstood metaphors.
With these issues, the challenge would be: how can a brand provide a new story to conscientious women about retaining beauty in a market that struggles to trust local brands?
Zigma8 | 360° Creative Communications made a strategic decision to name the brand, Moringa EMO (“exclusive moisture of oils”). This brand would provide natural health & beauty products containing ingredients from the so-called “miracle tree”, the Moringa Oleifera tree. The brand name borrows directly from the name of the tree and was chosen, among other reasons, to claim propriety ownership of the differentiating ingredient. Very few manufacturers had used the Moringa oil, and none had claimed it exclusively across their lines. One such example is Cinere, the locally renowned international health & beauty brand. This brand is active in the Iranian market and has products containing Moringa oil, but it, like other brands present in the market, had not embraced it as a strong differentiator.
Internationally, images of human bodies often accompany branding and advertising of health & beauty products, but in Iran’s market, this is not so much the case. As can be imagined, many restrictions apply to what images can be used, but in addition to this, many restrictions apply to what can be said. Communications agencies try to work around these restrictions by showing as much as is allowed, or using metaphors. In both cases, the quality of communication is inadvertently lowered. To avoid these issues a strategy was employed that would double down on the product differentiator and use the Moringa tree and its oils both in image and explanation. Doing this, however, would inadvertently invite a new challenge in advertising health & beauty products in Iran. This is because Moringa trees and their ingredients are relatively new to the audience, both in their looks and description. This, compounded with the fact that the ingredients are themselves far from beautiful, would mean that delicate sensitivity would be needed with the ingredient’s visual representation.
Zigma8 | 360° Creative Communications, as an expert in advertising health & beauty in Iran, solved the issue of the Moringa tree’s unattractive elements by beautifying the beauty product’s ingredients. For the brand’s visual identity, Zigma8 embraced the product differentiator, choosing to represent its ingredients in a symphony of natural abundance. To do this they studied the tree’s elements and set about beautifying its ingredients by creating curious yet seductive illustrations that float out in a harmonious composition.
For the brand’s verbal identity, a successful strategy of advertising health & beauty in Iran was devised by which terminology could be aspirational yet comprehensible. The result would avoid common yet misleading terminology that often negatively affects trust. The campaign headlines would poetically conjure a feeling of nature and growth so as to directly draw attention to the ingredients. Zigma8 strategy was to afford the target audience with a new story about retaining beauty. The brand achieved this positioning itself as the leader in an innovation story, brought about by its ingredients. The audience was able to embrace this story by knowing that others would come to understand and appreciate the seductively presented ingredients. By presenting high-quality production on premium media and avoiding local market clichés, the brand would look and sound like the international brands they once enjoyed.
The outcome was that the client confirmed that sales of the products during the campaign met targets and brought a profit on the expenditure. In addition to this, the products sold out in nearly all locations that they were available. To top it off, many requests were made by retailers that weren’t previously suppliers.
Zigma8 were so proud to achieve this success and name this project as one of the most remarkable projects amongst their works.
In the end, this is what Moringa EMO brand manager – Leila Rezaei has said about cooperating with Zigma8:
“Zigma8 were great at understanding our objectives for Moringa EMO. They come with a strategy that is completely deep and is very understanding of the target audience’s psychology. The strategy showed us a new way to look at media for Iranians. Also, they are very professional and creative because they taught us about the story [method], which I have not heard from my time working with international brands. The strategy helped Moringa EMO get to sales targets before we finished the advertising and also many new shops want the products. We sell out of the products in most shops!
Zigma8 are world-class. Thank you!”
Leila Razaei – Brand Manager, Moringa EMO