How did we help triple UK sales for sun-conscious skincare brand, COOLA?


The month was March 2021, lockdown was in its third round and foreign travel felt like a distant dream. So, when Californian suncare brand, COOLA, approached us to create a launch campaign for the UK, we were delighted to cast our minds beyond restrictions and closed borders to happier times and sunnier climes.

However, it wasn’t going to be easy, as Christian Koeppl, COOLA’s EMEA Senior Director of International Business explains, “The British market was already crowded. Bigger suncare brands (with bigger marketing budgets to match) were fighting for the same position. As the new brand on the block, we had to be extremely conscious about how we stood out from the crowd.”

So how did we turn a challenge into a success story and triple sales in a new market? Here are our 3 top takeaways:


We kept the concept close to the product

COOLA was born in health-conscious, sun-soaked California. So, when it came to developing the brand’s iconic bottles, it was only natural that founder, Chris Birchby,  looked to the beach for inspiration.

Soft, muted and light-reflecting like sea glass, it was the packaging that in turn, inspired Creative Director, Gavin Mulligan:

“The idea emerged almost instantly, when we saw how moving light magically infused and illuminated one of COOLA’s sea glass inspired products. The emotional resonance was instantaneous, the product coming alive in front of our eyes, evoking that feeling of rejuvenation, when the sun hits our skin after a long cold winter. Simply put, COOLA had a distinctive and ownable way to show its passion for bringing sunlight into people’s lives.”


We adapted to the market

As well as a unique visual identity that felt true to the brand, we also had to ensure our concept and aesthetic fit the UK sensibilities.  

The Advance team are a diverse bunch and having that international agency culture helps us get a better understanding of local markets. So, when it came to knowing the ins and outs of skincare and influencer culture in the UK and the US, we already had a firm footing. With our secret weapon of international knowledge, we moved away from an overly sunny tone (what works in the US can often be perceived as over the top in the UK) and worked towards a much more subdued, laid-back look, reminiscent of the nature-loving, casual side of Cali.


We worked smarter so our visuals could work harder

With limitations on travel, time and budget, a shoot on a far-flung beach was sadly off the cards. Rather than let this hem us in, we worked smarter, rolled up our sleeves and found new ways of producing content.

From working with influencers and shooting in-house to using our own personal photographic archives, we did whatever it took to bring our vision to life. Collating and curating hundreds (if not thousands of images) was a lengthy, time-consuming process, but it gave us a level of authenticity that would have been near impossible on set.


Overall, throughout the three-month campaign, COOLA tripled sales in the UK and garnered media attention from big players such as The Guardian and The independent. With no owned channels or big shoot abroad, we’re very proud to have helped turn COOLA from a cult US-only brand to an established global contender.