Abnormal PR

16 May 2018 | Jo Doverman

I think it’s fair to say that most people underestimate the work that goes into running a social media account for a company or brand. It’s not simply a case of sending a Tweet now and again and sharing a beautiful image on Instagram when you feel like it.

We have a dedicated team of social media experts here at Pic PR, who spend their days strategically planning all social media activity for each of our clients. Content needs to be structured and relevant, which is why you almost always need a dedicated person or team to run the social media channels for any brand or company – it takes time.

However, I’ve recently noticed some very strange activity over on the Deciem Instagram page which goes against everything we know.

Deciem is “the abnormal beauty company” responsible for The Ordinary skincare brand – probably the most well-known brand under the Deciem umbrella. The company was only founded in 2013 and, in four years, has grown from two employees to over 300 and from one brand to 10.

The founder behind Deciem’s success is Brandon Truaxe. Brandon is clearly a smart businessman and his products do appear to be authentic and very popular. As a person though, he seems a little eccentric.

Let me explain…

On the website, he’s labelled as “screwed up” and has also been labelled as “the Donald Trump of beauty” – good start.

No doubt, running 10 brands under one umbrella requires some serious marketing and PR management. However, earlier this year, Brandon announced that he was cancelling all of Deciem’s marketing plans and said he was going to start using the Instagram account as his own personal one…


Now, you don’t need us to tell you that the CEO of a massive company shouldn’t be using the company Instagram as if it’s their own personal account. And here’s why…

After this shocking announcement followed a series of very messy posts; public staff firings, a photo of a dead sheep(?!), plastic waste images and public fights in the comment sections. What on earth?!

Prior to Brandon’s takeover, the content was pretty much what you’d expect from a clean and pure skincare brand; all very fresh and clean. Then boom – a dead sheep when you least expect it.

Brandon has also publicly fired suppliers via Instagram posts and asked other employees to action his requests in the comment sections! He’s literally doing the private internal email stuff, just all over Instagram to his 300K+ followers. It’s turned into a really awful business decision, I think we can all agree.

The reason for the sheep carcass? Deciem doesn’t test on animals (which is good of course), however, displaying an image of a dead sheep to spread your message probably isn’t the most on-brand decision…

There’s a very detailed breakdown of the drama over the first half of this year on the Elle website, if you want see the events unfold. Or head to the Deciem Instagram to keep an eye on the latest weird interactions.

The whole thing is clearly an awful decision from a PR standpoint and very unprofessional (even if it is a deliberate PR stunt, ala Tump and Kanye West). You can see in the streams of comments that tonnes of people are questioning if they want to continue buying from Deciem and many people are questioning whether Brandon is ok.

I don’t know whether he is ok, which is obviously cause for concern, or whether he’s simply on a rollercoaster power trip.

It’s hard to say when this madness will end now that we’re six months in, or if it will result in the boycotting of Deciem and its brands. Either way, it’s a bit of a PR storm which is quickly destroying the reputation of a once very humble beauty brand, even if it increasing its reach.