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Maybelline Reinvents Its Image

The brand is overhauling its marketing and advertising campaigns for 2019.

Maybelline has a new marketing vibe.

The L’Oréal-owned brand is unveiling modernized imagery and messaging for its 2019 advertising campaigns, in an effort to speak directly to the Millennial consumer base it has slowly but surely been recruiting over the past few years.

To appeal to young consumers, the brand has overhauled its marketing strategy to reflect what it calls its “four pillars” — fashion, diversity, New York and innovative products.

“In this new environment, there are so many new brands Millennials are connecting and resonating with,” said Amy Whang, senior vice president of marketing for Maybelline. “We did a lot of retrospective looking at how consumers see the brand and what our values are — we want them to be connecting with our brand pillars. In doing so, we’re going to be rolling out a campaign where you’re going to see beauty in a more authentic way.”

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Maybelline is shifting its marketing toward younger consumers at a pivotal time for legacy brands in the mass market. While makeup category sales remain flat, Maybelline — along with its peers in L’Oréal’s consumer portfolio, NYX and L’Oréal Paris — has managed to maintain a steady momentum. Maybelline sales are up 4 percent in the last 12 weeks ending Oct. 16, according to Nielsen. Cover Girl is down 6 percent, and Revlon down 8 percent, despite massive reinvention efforts.

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Maybelline’s new campaign imagery — the first one to launch is for Snapscara mascara, out in January — features a mix of famous Maybelline ambassadors like Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima alongside a diverse cast of less well-known models, with an increased focus on Asian and Hispanic women. The photos were shot outside against the backdrop of New York City, rather than in a studio, where Maybelline’s campaign imagery has typically been shot. The looks are natural, instead of high-fashion, runway-inspired makeup, and the models are “less retouched” than usual, said Whang.

“I haven’t seen any mass makeup brand portray makeup and beauty in the way we’re doing it,” said Whang. “You’ll still see strong makeup looks, but the way we’re portraying women is less posed and more authentic, the way they’re styled is more on-trend with what consumers are actually wearing.”

On the product side, the brand has committed to rolling out a mix of trend items and true innovation, and focusing the bulk of its marketing efforts on a few key launches a year.

The first marketing push in January will be for Snapscara, a wax-free mascara designed to wipe off easily without makeup remover. Gigi Hadid will star in the Snapscara campaigns. The idea for Snapscara came from consumer research the brand did on sluggish mascara sales and Millennials, who seem to dislike the mascara removal process, which typically involves a lot of eye rubbing.

Focusing on one launch at a time has been a critical strategy for Maybelline this year. After a big product push in 2017 to capitalize on the burgeoning contour and highlight trends that had been slow to hit the mass market, the brand pared down its messaging to focus on key launches. TattooStudio Eyebrow Gel and SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick have fueled significant sales gains for the brand.

Said Whang, “At the end of the day, we’re speaking to a mass consumer across the United States, and when you start to message her on 30 different things for one brand, it’s not resonating or connecting.”