Blade Success Story: Evolving, Enhancing & Engaging Benzagel Canada for Young Canadians

The Challenge: Elevating a Proven Skincare Leader

2021 marks the 10th consecutive year Benzagel has been awarded the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Acne Treatment brand in Canada.

This ongoing honour is the result of establishing a consistent level of trust among Benzagel’s brand community, in a crowded and misguided skincare market.

While the market itself doesn’t fall short of brand name options to treat acne, many of these options continue to lack trust through transparency. It became clear to us, at Blade, that the market was in need of a real shake up. We believed in Benzagel. In turn, Benzagel believed in our ability to empower them to become THE skincare brand young adults can trust.

Skincare bloggers and influencers certainly understand the importance of trust among consumers. Earlier this year, Lab Muffin, a skincare educator, wrote about how skincare brands are resorting to sly tactics in the ingredients they promote. “The way this has played out is people hear that succinic acid is great for acne, they Google it, and conveniently the only product that’s made for acne with succinic acid is The Inkey List’s product,” according to Michelle, owner and author of Lab Muffin.

The upshot is that if Inkey used salicylic acid as the headline ingredient, your Google search would come up with a plethora of products from different brands. “But because no one else is using succinic acid this way, Inkey have made sure all of this traffic searching for succinic acid and acne ends up with this product, even if it ends up promoting misinformation,” she continues.


The Strategy: Leveraging the Success of Benzagel’s Past, and Energizing It’s Future

The skincare market will always be dictated by consumer desire to explore and get beyond the misinformation. That’s a key reason why Benzagel partnered with the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, (ARSC) earlier this year. Benzagel sought to further recognize the psychological and emotional issues acne can create through its physical manifestation.

Blade is confident both brand communities will benefit from a collaborative approach to achieving three main goals, in support of healthier skin:

  • Encouraging and inspiring the care of one’s physical well-being
  • Promoting the importance of one’s emotional well-being
  • The long-lasting, positive impact of connecting one’s emotional and physical well-being to feel fully confident

This all came full circle with the collaboration between Blade’s account, media and creative departments. We all focused on promoting these goals through our branding, advertising and content marketing efforts, using our unique abilities to empower the Benzagel brand.

Through our creative development and media placement/optimization approaches, we amplified key messaging across all platforms materials. We’ve also continuously provided thoughtful, and competitive insights to help Benzagel and the ARSC grow, together. With our client’s support, we embarked on a comprehensive plan to refresh Benzagel’s entire creative portfolio.

Our priority was to help Benzagel address the primary concern plaguing young adults: Physical and psychological isolation during the era of COVID-19 and beyond. As humans, it’s in our very nature to crave connectivity. It’s why we engaged the very people who found a way to stay connected in their own social circle of friends in our “Friendship Wins” Video Series. We enlisted young adults to talk about their friendships and how they have positively evolved through this challenging time.

The strategy integrated the following creative updates on key social platforms over a 6-month period:

  • Updated product packaging and overall artwork, with dynamic GIFs and various animation techniques for all Benzagel product SKUs.
  • A new website, with updated navigation and content categories to align Benzagel’s thematic messaging with a refreshed, user-friendly experience.
  • Updated social posts, with enhanced imagery and messaging.
  • The launch of the “Friendship Wins” Video Series, highlighting how Benzagel’s friends come out on top in a pandemic-ridden, virtual world.
  • The launch of the “Friendship Wins” Contest, spreading the power of friendship across the interwebs through our empowered, virtual video series.
  • Update of our Snapchat and Twitch landing pages, with corresponding video assets.
  • Integration of the ARSC on the Benzagel website, which can be found on this dedicated landing page, as well as on the blog.

We talked with some friends about the pandemic and how friendship is helping them thrive.


Our Content partners / Benza Friends share their experiences with friendships during the pandemic.


When it was said and done, the investment got rave reviews, including one from Columbia’s Senior Marketing Manager, Dave Cook:

“From the very beginning of the process, Blade’s passion and knowledge of our target market helped to steer us in a fresh and relevant direction that is resonating with our consumers. This is evidenced in new creative like our “Friendship Wins” videos, contemporized and more impactful website and several new creative assets.”


Blade’s own Wayne S. Roberts explains the creative process we deployed to drive Benzagel’s mission to their brand community:

“Our approach to Benzagel’s brand evolution was to position the brand as “Always being there when you need us.” Like a good friend or companion, Benzagel’s branding and advertising is as much about the emotional and physical well-being of its customers, as it is about treating their acne flare ups.”


The Result: An Evolved, Engaged and Empowered Skincare Brand

Our creative strategy delivered a re-energized approach for Benzagel. And that resulted in increased online awareness among the key brand community of young adults. As an example, our #FriendshipWins contest garnered over 54,000 impressions in 4 months across our social media platforms earlier this year.

Throughout our partnership, we’ve also helped Benzagel leverage and enhance existing engagements – such as the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Acne Treatment award for 10 years in a row, while forging new ones with organizations such as the ARSC. Our collaborative approach with both Benzagel and the ARSC continue to be crucial to not only their success, but for the positivity of their collective brand community of young adults.

In 2021, Benzagel showed why and how friendship always wins and we are proud of our success with them. We look forward to our continued, collaborative partnership with this decade-long skincare leader who is truly always there when you need them.


Blog Written by Blade’s Sr. Account/Project Manager, Andrew Basso 
Blog Edited by Blade’s President, Wayne S. Roberts 


Andrew Basso

As Blade's Sr. Account/Project Manager, Andrew brings a natural desire to learn, with a passion to explore the latest trends in the advertising and marketing industry. His dedication to discover new ways to elevate our processes allows him to thrive when executing various projects for our clients. He lives by the motto: "Patience + Persistence = Success."

Andrew Basso has 11 posts and counting.See all posts by Andrew Basso