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Exclusive: MAC Cosmetics Gives Insiders Access to Small-Batch Drops

MAC Underground will launch new products throughout the year in quantities of 1,000.

MAC Cosmetics is giving insiders exclusive access to a new drop model.

The cosmetics company is launching Underground, an ongoing series of drops available to MAC insiders in small batches. Launches will be available online-only in quantities of 1,000, and each product will be hand-numbered. The model, said Ukonwa Ojo, global chief marketing officer and senior vice president, global marketing, MAC Cosmetics, is meant to give insiders a glimpse at the makeup trends with which the company is most current.

When you get to be a brand as big and as global as MAC, there’s a lot of complexity when you want to bring innovation to the marketplace,” Ojo said. “The experiment we wanted to do was, what if we brought product from our development studio right to consumers in small-batch quantities so that they can get a window into the trends, products, stories we’re loving at the moment, and we can be transparent and share that with them in real-time and at hyper speed.”

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MAC Underground
MAC Underground launches with a rainbow-hued highlighter timed with Pride Month. Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

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MAC Underground’s first launch is a prismatic, rainbow-hued highlighter — a nod to Pride Month and the LGBTQIA+ community, which MAC has supported for more than two decades through its Viva Glam fund. The highlighter is available starting June 22 to members of the MAC Lover program. New Underground launches are expected one to two times per quarter.

Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development, said that Underground was an effort across corporate innovation, product development, research and development, creative and the supply chain.

We started ideating around this concept in January this year and brought a cross-functional team together to get it off the ground,” Cheow said. “We were working behind the scenes with the formulators to come up with not just the concept itself, but also how the formulas and packaging work in a very accelerated timeline.”

Underground, he said, “allowed us to be nimble and flexible, wearing the indie brand mentality.”

In April, MAC Cosmetics released its second collection in tribute to the late singer Selena. The line sold out — a phenomenon to which Ojo credits MAC’s empathetic marketing approach.

“I think the biggest thing for any brand at the moment is to go to market with a high degree of empathy for what consumers are going through right now, empathy for how their lives are changing, how their routines, schedules, needs are changing, how their shopping habits are changing,” Ojo said. “If we approach with an ear to listen, an ear to help and serve, we then, with a lot of agility, can pivot our marketing, promotions, storytelling, product introductions to be relevant in the moment.”

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