MAC Cosmetics is clearly hoping every woman wants to be Wonder Woman. The beauty brand this spring will launch a color collection based on the comic book heroine.
This story first appeared in the January 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“People are fascinated by the power of transformation,” said James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Worldwide. “That’s something Wonder Woman has always embodied — and so has MAC. Wonder Woman uses the power of makeup to eliminate dullness and make women beautiful, which is the role our makeup artists play in real life. And part of cosmetics is fantasy. We love showing people that you can have great fun with makeup.”
Gager — who joked that the Wonder Woman lineup would “transform Plain Janes across the land” — predicted that the collection would be even more successful than the brand’s popular Hello Kitty and Barbie collaborations, which were said to do $12 million and $9 million at retail globally, respectively. Industry sources noted that Wonder Woman could generate global retail sales of about $20 million. It has been planned as a collection that will stay on shelves for about six weeks, although Gager predicted it will sell through in about two.
Pop culture has been part of MAC’s DNA since its inception in 1984, noted Gager, adding that Wonder Woman has long been on his short list for collaborations. After presenting the idea to Warner Bros., which owns the rights to the comic book character, the studio agreed.
“Wonder Woman is one of the most enduring female characters in all of popular culture and the perfect choice for this collaboration,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing and worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
An oversize person called for oversize products, said Gager. “Since Wonder Woman has this amazing strength, we decided that the products in the collection should be larger than anything we do; from the size of the compacts to the jumbo blush,” said Gager, pointing to jumbo Lipglasses for $19.50, larger-than-normal blush duos for $24 and a $20 purse mirror rivaling the size of a bread plate. The cosmetics, for the most part, bring to mind an early Seventies look — a very nude contoured face with a hint of Pop-Art color, said Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president of product development for MAC Worldwide. As with all of MAC’s collections, the 42 stockkeeping units — which range in price from $14 for false lashes to $49.50 for a brush set with its own metallic utility belt, leaving one’s hands free for those bullet-deflecting bracelets — include a mix of new and re-promoted products, including lipsticks, mascaras, nail polishes and eyeliners. One of the re-promoted products is the lipstick which another powerful woman made famous in the early Nineties: Russian Red, the matte cherry color that was long Madonna’s trademark.
“Most are new shades — but there are a lot of shades in our line that we would never, ever get rid of,” Balbier said.
Compacts and cases are done in the character’s signature royal blue, fire-engine red and taxi-cab yellow with an eye-popping Wonder Woman logo. The eye shadow lineup includes iridescent white, pink and bright silver shades, as well as dark forest green, olive-bronze and lime with yellow frost; mascaras are done in shades of purple, green and blue in addition to black, and nail polishes are available in bright red and navy blue.
In addition to distribution in 767 doors in North America and 757 globally, MAC plans a pop-up store for the collection during its run. Although the line doesn’t bow until mid-February in North America and March globally, the store will open at 109 Prince Street in Manhattan after a press reception on Jan. 27. It will be open just that day, then reopened on Feb. 3 and will remain in place through mid-April, at which time it will become a new MAC store.
In-store visuals feature MAC-ized Wonder Woman cartoons. “We decided that instead of assigning a model to express the look, because the genesis of this collection was a comic book character, we worked with an illustrator to develop a comic exclusively for the displayers and visuals,” said Gager. An extensive digital media campaign, including a Foursquare component, will also be part of the mix, said Guillaume Jesel, senior vice president of global marketing for MAC.