MILAN — Estée Lauder is trying to start its own youth movement in Italy.

This story first appeared in the May 28, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

During the recent Salone del Mobile design fair, the Italian branch of the New York beauty giant staged a makeup promotion, dubbed Design Your Face, in the central podium space in La Rinascente department store in Piazza Duomo. Lauder’s aim was to boost interest in its makeup collections and attract a new, younger shopper. Judging from the results, the company succeeded on both fronts.

With the city abuzz from design week, the seven-day event was timed last month to take advantage of the increase in the foot traffic, offering shoppers a free makeover, followed by a professional, in-store photo shoot. Many of the participants reciprocated by buying products.

“The event captured the interest of hundreds of women, three-quarters of which are new customers,” said Orna Schezen Nofarber, general manager of Estée Lauder Italy. The promotion registered a 16 percent increase in sales compared with a similar sales drive in April 2009.

Nofarber explained the strong makeup sales were from a new and younger consumer, averaging age 32, which the company attracted through online communication and by reaching beyond the typical, traditional perfumery traffic flow.

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A breakdown of the promotion’s sales underlined an increased interest in the brand’s makeup collections, with 56 percent of the event’s sales attributed to makeup, 33 percent to skin care and 11 percent to fragrance.

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