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L’Oreal’s Shenan Reed sees advertising as a blend of art and science

To L’Oréal executive Shenan Reed, advertising is part art and part science. Reed went from working with the beauty brand on the agency side to taking over as L’Oréal’s senior VP and head of media in 2020. During that time, she has emphasized approaching customers as people instead of targets and making sure the consumer experience is the best it can be. 

“It’s inspiring to be inside and understand how an organization like ours is dedicated to the science and to the quality of the products we put forward,” Reed says in our debut episode of the third season of The Current Podcast. “I absolutely love being in the position to help make the decisions on the media side.”

Reed, who previously served as president and chief client officer at Publicis Groupe, discusses how L’Oréal has deep roots in technology, why marketing across a variety of channels is critical to scale messaging, and why she thinks the advertising industry will be better without third-party cookies.

Since 2020, Reed has been bringing her unique vision to the timeless L’Oréal brand. The 112-year-old French personal care company, which owns brands like Lancôme, Maybelline, Prada, Ralph Lauren, and CeraVe, is evolving by offering skin diagnostics and more sustainable product options. This shift led to record sales last year. “The opportunity for us to lean into technology allows us to help create products that bring the experience of the products to life on behalf of the consumer,” she says. “It’s definitely a very proud part of our heritage.”