Allergan is trying new things.
Spearheading the pharmaceutical company’s digital ventures unit, Project Moonwalker, is Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, the serial entrepreneur who founded fashion and beauty start-ups Gilt Groupe, Glamsquad and Fitz. In her new-ish role — she landed in the Dublin-based company’s New York office a year and a half ago — Wilson oversees the team that launched Spotlyte and Regi, a beauty content site and a beauty service booking concierge.
Wilson’s background in fashion and beauty isn’t so far-fetched for Allergan, the parent company of injectable brands Botox, Juvederm and Coolsculpting, the noninvasive body contouring procedure. “I’ve been on an entrepreneurial path targeting women and men who love the finer things in life and want to consume things in a different way,” Wilson said. “The past 14 years have been about leveraging digital and technology through fashion, beauty and wellness.”
Project Moonwalker’s New York headquarters, said Wilson, is set-up like any other tech start-up, with an open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling glass conference rooms. The unit’s first project, Spotlyte, was officially launched in September. Spotlyte, a content web site devoted to beauty and medical aesthetics, is run by a team of beauty and visual editors with experience from publications “all over the city,” Wilson said.
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The goal with Spotlyte, said Wilson, is to educate consumers who are interested in medical aesthetic procedures in general, not necessarily specific products that Allergan owns — in fact, Botox and Juvederm are not mentioned by name on the site. “If we’re trying to go to the top of the funnel and educate the 65 million ‘consider-ers’ who are maybe thinking about trying medical aesthetics, but they have so many questions about where to go, what to expect, or they’re nervous they’re not going to look natural — all kinds of questions, potentially around pain and cost — this is the site to answer those questions,” Wilson said.
Half the site’s content is just run-of-the-mill beauty articles on might find on a traditional consumer site, covering categories such as skin care, hair care and makeup. “We interview all kinds of people,” said Wilson, ticking off doctors, influencers, hairstylists, makeup artists and beauty entrepreneurs. “We just interviewed Tanya Zuckerbrot [registered dietician and founder of F-Factor] because we thought our readers would be excited about her — she has an intense fan base,” Wilson said. “Obviously the goal with people like that is to get them to post our interview with them to their followers because they’re excited about it.”
Spotyle is “unbranded,” said Wilson, a term that was new to her. It essentially means that Allergan’s products are not mentioned by name. As a pharmaceutical company, Allergan’s medical and legal standards team has to check all of Spotlyte’s content before it goes live. Wilson said this hasn’t slowed the team down too much, even when editors are up late on Oscars night or the Met Gala trying to push content out. “It’s pretty amazing in terms of the pharmaceutical industry, considering every single letter and word on our site is reviewed not only for fact-checking but by medical and legal regulatory compliance…the fact that you have these teams of people up at midnight on an awards night, fact-checking so we can have the Lady Gaga articles up there.”
Regi, launched in April, is Project Moonwalker’s latest venture. The Regi web site functions as an on-demand booking concierge. It can also be used as a text service, which is how Wilson personally prefers to use it. On Regi, consumers can book all types of beauty and medical aesthetics services, from a Botox appointment to a facial and manicure. Payment is done through the site as well. Regi is available in New York and Los Angeles, and there are plans to roll out to Dallas.
The launch is going well, said Wilson, who said Regi is attracting a mix of Millennial and Gen X clientele. “We’re seeing repeat booking, addictive engagement with the site. It’s mobile-optimized, so it behaves as if it were [an app].”