Makeup giant shapes relationships with teens

Maybelline's latest teen-targeted contest has enabled the global cosmetics manufacturer to forge relationships with its young consumers in a completely new way.

Maybelline’s latest teen-targeted contest has enabled the global cosmetics manufacturer to forge relationships with its young consumers in a completely new way.

This summer, Maybelline Canada joined forces with Universal Music Canada, Le Chateau, FujiFilm Canada and Famous Players to promote its new Wet Shine lip colour range. A national contest – ‘I Wanna Shine’ – ran from May 15 to June 30, offering young consumers the chance to win a double pass to see teen singer Carly Hennessy in concert.

To enter the contest, teens simply had to visit a Famous Players theatre, a Le Chateau clothing store or the I Wanna Shine website at and submit their contact information, including e-mail address.

The aim of the cross-promotion was to form long-term relationships with the contest’s target consumers – the 12-to-24 age group – by connecting the brand to their lifestyle.

‘We wanted to create experiences for our consumers to tie into Maybelline’s brand foot-print,’ explains Jonathan Singer, director of promotional marketing at Montreal-based Marketel-McCann Erickson, which handles the Maybelline account.

Wet Shine kiosks were set up in stores and movie theatres in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Promo teams were on site distributing samples of the new makeup, together with Carly Hennessy CD samples from Universal Music, and stickers and T-shirts from Le Chateau. Contestants were also given FujiFilm cameras and instant photos of themselves with their friends.

Monique Brosseau, director of marketing at Maybelline Canada, says: ‘We were able to capture the attention of thousands of young people, thanks to the combined synergy of the companies who strategically took part in the promotion. This cohesiveness permitted us to create unique marketing experiences.’

While Maybelline was unwilling to divulge the number of contestants, Nathalie De Champlain, public relations manager, confirms: ‘We have broken records with respect to any launch in this category before. We have surpassed all sales objectives and obtained tremendous results as return on investment.’ Approximately 6,000 contestants entered via the contest Web site alone.

At the end of July, Universal Music presented Carly Hennessy concerts at Famous Players theatres in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. In each of the four markets, 100 winners received a pair of tickets.

Singer is quick to point out that the contest was not designed as a transactional tool, but as a means of forging long-term relationships with potential customers.

‘We don’t regard the database as a tool for direct marketing because that implies that we are trying to sell something,’ he says. ‘We are not looking to send out questionnaires to the contestants or to try and persuade them to buy a product directly. We have a strong relationship with our retailers so we tread carefully in terms of direct-sales marketing.’

He continues: ‘Instead we will use that information to let our consumers know about our plans for 2002, and to invite them to participate in our future events. For example if we are going to be in the Eaton Centre on a particular day, we’ll write to our customers in Toronto and let them know.’ Maybelline will also use the database to keep customers aware of new products being launched.

Maybelline’s cross-promoting partners in the ‘I Wanna Shine’ contest also stand to benefit from the newly formed database of potential customers. Universal Music Canada, Le Chateau, FujiFilm Canada and Famous Players will each be given access to the list of contestants. ‘One of our strategies is to team up with brands that have very aligned personalities,’ says Singer.

An advertising campaign ran in conjunction with the promotion to help communicate the brand launch. Local radio stations in the four target market zones also held prize draws on-air. A series of ads ran in several teen magazines and ads were broadcast in Famous Players theatres nationwide. Hyperlinks were added to the most popular teen Web sites as well as to the Web sites of each of the contest partners.

Singer explains: ‘When we use a grassroots program such as this contest, we are always looking to complement that with radio, TV and magazine advertising, to communicate the product attributes and to bring it to life. Traditional advertising is key in brand selling.’

Singer says that the contest was not survey-oriented and Maybelline did not collect any info about personal taste in makeup. However, it may lead to similar contests in the future. ‘The most important thing we learnt about our customers is that they love this kind of promotion,’ he says. ‘We had an overwhelmingly positive response and plan to capitalize and expand on the initial program.’

The Internet formed a vital part of the ‘I Wanna Shine’ contest and also plays a fundamental role in Maybelline’s overall marketing strategy. De Champlain explains: ‘Through this contest we targeted the market in two entirely separate ways – through balloting and through the Internet – and we had an overwhelmingly high response on both fronts. If you don’t use the Internet as a marketing tool these days, you’ll be missing out on a huge chunk of the market.’

The brand’s main Web site,, advertises new products and offers advice about individual makeup requirements to attract new customers to the Maybelline brand. Browsers are invited to e-mail their questions directly to a beauty advisor – serving as another means of adding names products. There is also a monthly newsletter and online chat capability.