For Nars, social media isn’t always about the conversion rate — it can be used to focus just on awareness of the brand.

That was the message of Heather Park, director of digital media at Nars Cosmetics, who spoke about the brand’s social media activation around Andy Warhol.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company’s founder and creative director, François Nars, has always been inspired by the creative genius of Andy Warhol, Park said, and so partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with the objective to leverage the creative collaboration to help raise brand awareness for Nars. Because Nars is a luxury beauty brand, the firm wanted to make sure that the incentive to its fans to participate in the activation was not incentive-based, so there was no tie-in to a giveaway, discount or sweepstakes.


And while the company wanted to make sure it honored Warhol as an artist, it also wanted to home in on what its consumers’ behavior was online.

That meant it had to be shareable, or social. “In order to do that, it had to be extremely simple, with a light touch, and entertaining. Something they wanted to share,” Park said.

The company focused on Facebook since that’s the largest consolidated gathering of all of its fans in one place. It also found that when someone updated a cover photo, there was a push to the news feed as an isolated update. That, the company felt, “was a great way to get some dedicated real estate on some on these news feeds,” Park said.

The video was essentially a profile makeover with the Nars Andy Warhol Collection, since many products are inspired by the artist, such as colors from his artwork.

According to Park, the app results indicated 3,100 users, with 12 percent using the app more than once. That generated 5,268 images and 161,276 page views.

The average time spent on the app was more than seven minutes, with more than 23 percent of users from Brazil and 51 percent from the U.S.

Of the total Facebook potential impressions, when looking at the number of users and that the average user has 262 friends, the company determined that it generated more than 823,000 impressions, and “achieved conversations and re-tweets on Twitter of over 10.1 million additional earned media impressions,” Park said.

“But it doesn’t stop there,” she added.

From key Web sites and blogs as well as forums, an additional 40 million impressions were generated. Through the consumer and tech press, “is where we saw massive awareness and mass penetration. We saw over 100 million impressions,” Park said.

In total, the company had more than 151 million earned impressions, without investing a single dollar for the campaign, Park noted.

As for key learnings, Park said, “Keep it simple. Keep it social.”

She explained that the term “social media” has been “thrown around,” but one needs to remember that “social” means “simple to engage in, something you would tell over dinner or a glass of wine.”

The second learning involved branding through experience. The campaign was tailored, with very subtle integration of the product so people could have fun and really enjoy the experience, Park explained. And while providing value is the third key, in any viral campaign the customer has to get something out of it, whether it’s entertainment or a discount.

Finally, life is not a field of dreams, Park said, referencing the famed line from the movie of that title.

“ ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The fact of the matter is, if you build it, they will not come,” she said.

Her point was that if you build it, make sure to tell a whole bunch of people about it, explaining what’s in it for them and then maybe they will come.

“That’s the reality of the world we’re living [in].…Online there’s so much noise. There’s so much going on.…Just building an incredible program is not enough,” she advised.

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