Cover5 Sampling Model

Cover5 is aiming to change the way consumers sample beauty products at home.

Created by Integrated Branding and Media Group, the patented model allows brands to send premium-size samples to consumers through magazine subscriptions.

“The idea was inspired by the need to deliver samples in home in an economical manner [for brands] because sampling is what it’s all about these days for consumers and it can be an expensive proposition,” said cofounder Jean Zimmerman, who formerly served as the executive vice president at Chanel. “It’s an effective form of sampling because you get the product in the consumer’s hands at home when there is no competition, unlike in a retail environment.”

The model works by placing an “onsert” or additional cover on a magazine that shows a brand’s advertisement along with a compartment that holds a sample of the product. Cover5 will debut its model with the January issue of Elle.

“This is marketing and advertising that can’t be ignored, blocked or deleted,” said cofounder Mark Husmann on the strengths of this model versus digital advertising. “It’s engaging consumers and it’s pairing real people with real product. Cover5 delivers what digital advertising can’t, which is the human touch trial experience.”

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Cover5 is working with Hearst and Condé Nast and is refining its partnership with Meredith Corp. to showcase the sampling and advertising model. The company is also working with L’Oréal, The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Shiseido and Coty Inc., among others, to use their platform for advertising and sampling.

Both Zimmerman and Husmann think that this sampling model will improve traditional print advertising because of its direct approach to consumers.

“What [brands] need to do is shorten the consumer journey of discovering their products,” Husmann said. “Instead of advertising at a consumer and waiting for them to take action and come to the beauty counter, now it’s time to bring the beauty counter to them.”

Because sampling is important for beauty brands, Zimmerman and Husmann see the Cover5 model as a cost-effective way for brands to offer premium-size samples and to approach their target consumers directly through a magazine that shares similar values and demographics as them.

“We’re in a consumer-to-consumer marketing world,” Husmann said. “What Cover5 does is deliver that first engagement moment and lets the consumer take it from there. It makes the introduction to the brand and then social media and word of mouth carries the rest.”

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