What worked this year? Big ideas, implemented flawlessly. And a little shock value, to boot.
Revlon made itself a force to be reckoned with in 2010, proving how a famous name with the right product launch and marketing strategy could jump-start a business. Jessica Biel, for example, was the face for Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm, where she participated in behind-the-scenes videos so content could be used on multiple online and social-media platforms. A director’s cut of the TV ad aired in movie theaters, while Revlon sampled promotional material—all timed as product hit stores. Now, Just Bitten is the top-selling lip stain in the U.S. Revlon tweaked the look and feel of its ad photography as well, going against the standard beauty grain with rich imagery that set it apart from its rivals. —Andrea Nagel
L’Oréal Paris Go 360º Clean
To stand out in the mass market facial cleansing market is no easy feat. Sensing that the category was crying out for innovation, L’Oréal Paris president Karen Fondu challenged her team to deliver department store innovation with real value. The result was L’Oréal Paris Go 360º Clean, which presented a major innovation in packaging that attracted younger users. Each cleanser in the four-item lineup includes an industry ﬁrst: a scrublet. The wiggly plastic scrubber exfoliates the face and adheres to a mirror after use. “We never saw anything quite like this,” said a drugstore buyer admiringly. Buoyed by ads featuring actress Freida Pinto, L’Oréal sold more than one million pieces of the cleansers within three months, jumping from tenth place in cleansers to the ﬁfth top seller. —Faye Brookman
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When P&G overhauled its $3 billion Pantene business, word of its reformulated and repackaged hair care collection spread way before it landed on drugstore shelves in June. Beauty bloggers and magazines sampled products and created giveaways, in some cases creating such demand that, according to P&G, Allure’s Web site crashed during its giveaway. P&G also broke new ground in searching for a reality hair star to put Pantene to the test on live TV, conducting an online casting call and ﬂying 12 ﬁnalists to New York, with the winner announced during a live TV commercial. The reinvention reached retailers with the Pantene Road Show, a custom-built truck with full-size shelving, which traveled around the U.S. to 17 locations in three months. The effort paid off. By late May, just weeks before product hit shelves, more than one billion impressions had already been made. —A.N.
Jordin Sparks Because of You by Apra
Singer Jordin Sparks’ ﬁ rst goal when she decided to do a fragrance was to keep it affordable. With Because of You, she more than succeeded: It launched in October at an eminently reasonable $9.50 for a 2.5-oz. bottle. Even when the price rose to $14.95 on Nov. 1, the price tag was well within reach of most consumers, particularly Sparks’ younger fan base. The innovative thinking extended to distribution: Because of You launched ﬁrst at Dots, a fast-fashion, women’s specialty apparel and accessories chain that has more than 400 stores in 26 states, some of which Sparks made personal appearances in to promote the scent. It then rolled out into 10,000 additional mass market doors; by 2011 yearend, it is expected to be in 25,000 mass market doors. —Julie Naughton
Estée Lauder Blue Dahlia Collection
When makeup artist Tom Pecheux was named Estée Lauder’s creative makeup director in 2009, he said he wanted to “bring a strong fashion edge to the brand.” With the launch of Pure Color gloss and eye shadow and Blue Dahlia, his ﬁ rst seasonal color collection, mission accomplished. Blue Dahlia, whose star products were two limited edition palettes in electric blue and violet, was a certiﬁ able hit. Backed by a striking visual campaign with model Hilary Rhoda, a global press kickoff in Paris with journalists from 27 countries, and well-trained in-store sales associates who expertly executed wearable renditions of the look, Blue Dahlia quickly sold out worldwide. At the launch, sources estimated that Pure Color would reach $85 million at retail globally; when the Estée Lauder Cos. reported earnings for the ﬁrst quarter ending September 2010, it noted an 11 percent uptick in makeup sales, thanks in part to Pecheux’s striking additions. —Jenny B. Fine
Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain Collection
When it came time to launch its newest men’s collection, Kiehl’s proved it was willing to climb any mountain in the quest for success. The brand tapped three National Geographic Young Explorers to “adventure test” its ﬁrst collection of active body care for men. The collection, which includes an energizing hair and body wash, sweat- and waterproof SPF 50 cream and a slip-resistant foot cream, features natural, reparative ingredients like coconut oil and aloe vera, with prices from $15.50 to $25.50. The brave twentysomethings ventured to the North Pole, Mongolia, Costa Rica and Thailand—products in tow—chronicling their experiences on kiehls.com through blogs, photographs and video. From a run-in with a wild boar to surviving intense heat and humidity in the jungle, the explorers—who hiked, swam and cliff-climbed during their expeditions—helped the protective products exceed sales expectations, all while remaining in ﬁne form. —Belisa Silva
Bumble and bumble–Sephora Partnership
Hair care and the prestige marketplace have historically made strange bedfellows. Then Bumble & bumble met Sephora. In what’s been called a bridging of the gap between the professional and prestige markets, Bumble and bumble hair care launched in full this fall at 10 Sephora stores. Half of the stores’ displays feature interactive touch screens to educate consumers on the brand’s salon heritage, with video loops showcasing the brand’s fashion DNA backstage during fashion week. But the really neat element is the prominently displayed list of nearby Bb network salons, where consumers can cash in a $20 gift card they are awarded for purchasing two full-size Bb items. The card can only be used toward hair services—not products—thus helping drive business to its salon network rather than cannibalizing sales, as is so often the case when professional brands migrate into nontraditional distribution channels. —Matthew W. Evans
Marc Jacobs Bang by Coty Prestige
Controversial ad campaigns aren’t new to beauty—just consider Calvin Klein and Tom Ford. So as eye-catching as Marc Jacobs lying naked on a silver blanket, his privates covered only by a giant fragrance bottle, is—and it’s pretty eye-catching— the ad for his new scent Bang wasn’t the only component that stood out. A concerted digital effort generated considerable buzz—from a Facebook app that allowed users to “bang” others and gain points for attractiveness to a bold bottle design. “Bang had great entertainment value,” says NPD’s Karen Grant. “They tied themselves into the digital age and went beyond the in-store presence and promotion.” Granted, the ad campaign didn’t hurt, but it turns out that Jacobs’ rationale for posing nude went much deeper than mere shock value. He wanted to convey that scent is a personal passion. “Once I agreed to be the model, I couldn’t see what I would wear to express this [passion],” he said. “We tried it with clothes, but it didn’t work.” —M.W.E.