TOP QUEBEC SHOP: Carat Strategem


Carat makes the brand a star

Agency heads: Jacques Dorion, CEO Carat Canada; Patricia Heckmann, EVP, Carat Strategem
Number of employees: 60 employees in Montreal
Billings for last year: $285 million in Canada
Notable clients: Belron, Club Med, Corbeil Électroménagers, Danone, Loto-Quebec, RONA, St-Hubert, Saputo and Sobeys
New business wins: Government of Quebec AOR, Journal de Montréal, Familiprix, Pernod Ricard and FHP Vileda
Major losses: None

The goal
Lise Watier produces fragrances, make-up and skin care products. On a very modest budget, Carat had to achieve three goals in each of these categories. For fragrance the goal was to maintain a leadership position in French Canada and increase the sales network in Western Canada. For make-up, Lise Watier wanted to increase prestige and maintain its reputation as expert consultants. And the company wanted to build awareness and a good reputation for its recently launched Anti-wrinkle System and Équilibre (Balance.)

The strategy
To maximize every dollar, Carat decided to integrate the three categories into each media solution, strengthening the prestige of the make-up, stimulating sales and building credibility for the new skin care line. TV was the obvious choice, and Carat focused on shows that could be integrated with magazines, Internet, billboards and in-store promotion.

The execution
Carat selected six popular prime-time shows and had a Lise Watier artist make up actresses or models on those programs. Carat also negotiated a deal enabling magazine Elle Canada to get exposure on TV in exchange for an advertorial in the fashion magazine featuring the stars from the TV shows. Newspaper and superboard deals were also struck.
On the Gala de l’ADISQ (the equivalent of the American Music Awards), for instance, viewers followed representatives from Lise Watier backstage to make up two well-known French-Canadian personalities who were presenting awards. The ADISQ sponsorship also included a press conference and a contest, among other elements.

The results
Since Carat took over, sales for Lise Watier Cosmétiques make-up products have increased by 22% in Canada. The day after ADISQ, some products sold out in stores, Lise Watier phone lines were jammed with calls about the show and Web site visits increased by about 24%. Carat estimates it received media valued at 2.5 times the dollar investment, as well as positive buzz in the media, the ad industry and the beauty and fashion world.