Urban Decay Cosmetics and OPI Products have gone down the rabbit hole with “Alice in Wonderland” so consumers can get inspired by the upcoming movie when they peer into the looking glass.
This story first appeared in the January 8, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Disney Consumer Products approached the two Southern California-based companies about a year ago to consider licensing agreements enabling them to interpret the characters in director Tim Burton’s take on the Lewis Carroll book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for beauty products. They quickly signed on, intrigued by the enduring tale of a young girl, the magical world Burton could dream up and the well-known actors in the film (Johnny Depp plays The Mad Hatter and Anne Hathaway is The White Queen.)
“Burton is dark and edgy, yet everything he does is really beautiful at the same time,” said Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay’s creative director and co-founder. “I felt it was a perfect match for Urban Decay to do a palette based on his vision.”
The resulting palette, a $52 limited edition “Alice in Wonderland” version of Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows products, is covered in a pattern with teapots and cups, and opens to reveal a pop-up drawing of Alice, recently shrunken by the “drink me” bottle contents, in the mushroom forest. Inside, there are 16 shadows with “Alice in Wonderland”-related names, such as a bright blue called Alice, and a white shade called White Rabbit, as well as two travel-size 24/7 Eye Pencils and one 0.13-oz. Eyeshadow Primer Potion.
Suzi Weiss-Fleischmann, OPI executive vice president and creative director, described herself as thrilled to work on the “Alice in Wonderland” project. “Everybody wants to be somebody. If they like an actor or actress, they can associate a nail lacquer with their character, and it gets them closer,” she said. “These collaborations draw the consumer more and more to a movie and a [nail lacquer] color.”
There are four $8.50 OPI nail lacquers in the “Alice in Wonderland” set: Absolutely Alice, a blue glitter; Thanks So Muchness, a red shimmer; Off With Her Red, a vivid red, and Mad as a Hatter, a black multiglitter shade. Rolling into stores this month in advance of the March 5 movie release, the lacquers will be sold at Ulta, J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, Pure Beauty, BeautyFirst, Chatters, Regis, Trade Secret and Beauty Brands.
Also entering stores is the Urban Decay palette, which will be available at Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s. At Sephora, Zomnir detailed there are Alice-themed endcaps and point-of-sale merchandising displays set up like a bookshelf to showcase the “Alice in Wonderland” product, and tabletop displays at Ulta with enlarged renditions of the interior of the palette. It is estimated the Urban Decay “Alice in Wonderland” palette will generate more than $4 million in sales.
Johanna Mooney, Disney Consumer Products’ director, health and beauty, explained the “Alice in Wonderland” beauty collaborations are intended to build buzz and help Disney engage a broad audience. “If you look at Facebook on Urban Decay, even though they haven’t officially announced the Book, people are already asking about it,” she said. “Knowing that the Urban Decay consumer base finds it exciting that Urban Decay is partnering with Alice and Disney, that is exciting for us. It makes a woman think about Disney in a different way.”
While Disney has permitted images from its “Alice in Wonderland” properties to be on beauty products in the past — Goldie used Alice in products for Bath & Body Works three years ago and Gianna Rose Atelier launched soaps featuring characters about two years ago — Urban Decay and OPI are the first beauty brands to translate Burton’s ideas and are aimed at cutting-edge beauty consumers older than typical Disney cartoon watchers. Younger, mass consumers, however, will also be privy to “Alice in Wonderland”-branded beauty products when a line produced under license by Townley Cosmetics hits Wal-Mart and Hot Topic, among other retailers, this summer.
Mooney believes the new “Alice in Wonderland” beauty products could move fast and become coveted by collectors. It has happened before. Mooney noted Carol’s Daughter’s “The Princess and the Frog” merchandise called A Magical Beauty Collection sold out in less than a day on the hair care brand’s Web site, and a Disney Couture Minnie Mouse handbag retailing for $100 was priced as high as $3,000 on eBay last year prior to the holidays.
“All I am hearing is that people can’t wait to get their hands on that thing,” said Zomnir of the Urban Decay palette. “I suspect we will see quite a few of these on eBay.”
For her part, Weiss-Fischmann admitted the most memorable outcome of the “Alice in Wonderland” collaboration would be an encounter with Depp. “My request is that I want to meet him,” she pronounced, “or, at least, [get] a picture that says, ‘With love to Suzi.’”