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With her newest project, Bobbi Brown is turning herself into a YouTube impresario with an eye toward luring Millennials, with a lofty goal of attracting 100 million Internet views in the next 12 months.
This story first appeared in the September 6, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Together with Collective Digital Studio and Multi-Channel Network, the makeup artist will launch I Love Makeup, an online beauty channel on YouTube on Monday. The channel will feature comedy, makeover and inspirational programs created in collaboration with popular YouTube personalities, including Grace Helbig, Weylie Hoang, Taryn Southern, Alexa Losey, Sophia Chang and Claire Marshall.
Make no mistake: These videos won’t be nonstop commercials for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics — although there is a second channel in the works, tentatively slated to launch sometime in the next six months, which may be. In fact, Brown noted, hers is not the only beauty brand that will be used in the content being created for I Love Makeup.
Brown said this channel is intended to communicate with youthful consumers where they live: online. It’s meant to aggregate content across YouTube and other social media entities, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr to create a multifaceted offering that adds beauty-centric comedies and aspirational content as well as the more typical tutorial and makeover programs that comprise the great majority of beauty programming on YouTube. At least three shows a week will feature artists using Brown’s products, but the content will be free-form. “I’m not editing any of these videos — these are real representations of what these bloggers are actually using,” she said. “When we were looking online, I noticed that a lot of artists were already using my products in their videos, so this all evolved organically. And I learn from them. It’s tremendously enlightening to hear their points of view. Bloggers have become very important in the beauty world, especially with the increasingly influential younger consumer.”
Added Maureen Case, president of Bobbi Brown, “The point of this is that it’s a radical departure from the way beauty brands normally market products, and it’s a bit of a free fall in that sense. This isn’t about Bobbi preaching or about product infomercials. These [bloggers] all have a very specific point of view on makeup and whatever floats to the top is what will run. Millennials don’t want to be marketed to. They want to do the discovering. YouTube allows us to experiment, and this channel is a great opportunity to go where the Millennials are playing.”
The brand is considering retail partnerships created around the channel, although nothing has been inked. “We want to make sure this doesn’t come off as a Bobbi Brown commercial,” said Case. The brand plans giveaways and other incentives to viewers.
Programs on the channel will include “Grace’s Faces,” Helbig’s show, which will do pop-in makeovers; “The Pretty Party,” which features the channel’s YouTube influencers doing various beauty challenges, makeup demos and road testing products like waterproof mascara and smudge-proof lipstick; “Haute Wheels,” which weekly will award a fan a custom makeover and makeup lesson — in a tricked-out “Haute Wheels” beauty mobile — to get them ready for an upcoming event. There’s also “Make Up and Go,” the channel’s signature “getting ready with me” series which features the makeup routines of different beauty gurus; “Say It with Makeup,” where artists including musicians, painters, designers and chefs will trade out the tools of their normal trades for a box of makeup and a bunch of beauty tools; “Inspiration Nation,” intended to be an aspirational spin on the standard makeup how-to, and “Beauty Dos, Don’ts, and Duhs,” devoted to quick fix-its and beauty basics.
The channel’s cast of talent and Bobbi Brown makeup artists will interact with viewers with pictures, videos, polls and more throughout the week. The channel is executive produced by Davida Hall at Collective Digital Studio.
“It’s refreshing to have a brand partner as forward-thinking as Bobbi Brown,” said Reza Izad, chief executive officer of Collective Digital Studio. “They understand the value in truly collaborating with content creators and ensuring that the content is authentic. Our goal is simple and ambitious: to create a must-watch experience for everyone that loves makeup.”
Brown believes in digital marketing so strongly that she and her husband opened 18 Label Street, an 8,000-square-foot studio complex, last year in Montclair, N.J., where they live. “I was traveling so much to do shoots and QVC, and whenever we were shooting closer to home we had to find a crew and rent a studio in the city,” Brown said. “After awhile we realized it would be smart to open our own.” Brown said she uses the studio for her projects about five times a month, and at other times the facility is rented to others, including the Food Channel and even rival brand Clinique (“I wanted to jump in there with a white lab coat,” Brown said). She also did satellite media tours for her last book from the studio.