Best Executed Launch Strategy

What worked this year? Big ideas, implemented flawlessly. And a little shock value, to boot.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 12/10/2010


Estée Lauder Blue Dahlia Collection

When makeup artist Tom Pecheux was named Estée Lauder’s creative makeup director in 2009, he said he wanted to “bring a strong fashion edge to the brand.” With the launch of Pure Color gloss and eye shadow and Blue Dahlia, his fi rst seasonal color collection, mission accomplished. Blue Dahlia, whose star products were two limited edition palettes in electric blue and violet, was a certifi able hit. Backed by a striking visual campaign with model Hilary Rhoda, a global press kickoff in Paris with journalists from 27 countries, and well-trained in-store sales associates who expertly executed wearable renditions of the look, Blue Dahlia quickly sold out worldwide. At the launch, sources estimated that Pure Color would reach $85 million at retail globally; when the Estée Lauder Cos. reported earnings for the first quarter ending September 2010, it noted an 11 percent uptick in makeup sales, thanks in part to Pecheux’s striking additions. —Jenny B. Fine

Skin Care
Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain Collection

When it came time to launch its newest men’s collection, Kiehl’s proved it was willing to climb any mountain in the quest for success. The brand tapped three National Geographic Young Explorers to “adventure test” its first collection of active body care for men. The collection, which includes an energizing hair and body wash, sweat- and waterproof SPF 50 cream and a slip-resistant foot cream, features natural, reparative ingredients like coconut oil and aloe vera, with prices from $15.50 to $25.50. The brave twentysomethings ventured to the North Pole, Mongolia, Costa Rica and Thailand—products in tow—chronicling their experiences on through blogs, photographs and video. From a run-in with a wild boar to surviving intense heat and humidity in the jungle, the explorers—who hiked, swam and cliff-climbed during their expeditions—helped the protective products exceed sales expectations, all while remaining in fine form. —Belisa Silva

Hair Care
Bumble and bumble–Sephora Partnership
Hair care and the prestige marketplace have historically made strange bedfellows. Then Bumble & bumble met Sephora. In what’s been called a bridging of the gap between the professional and prestige markets, Bumble and bumble hair care launched in full this fall at 10 Sephora stores. Half of the stores’ displays feature interactive touch screens to educate consumers on the brand’s salon heritage, with video loops showcasing the brand’s fashion DNA backstage during fashion week. But the really neat element is the prominently displayed list of nearby Bb network salons, where consumers can cash in a $20 gift card they are awarded for purchasing two full-size Bb items. The card can only be used toward hair services—not products—thus helping drive business to its salon network rather than cannibalizing sales, as is so often the case when professional brands migrate into nontraditional distribution channels. —Matthew W. Evans

Marc Jacobs Bang by Coty Prestige

Controversial ad campaigns aren’t new to beauty—just consider Calvin Klein and Tom Ford. So as eye-catching as Marc Jacobs lying naked on a silver blanket, his privates covered only by a giant fragrance bottle, is—and it’s pretty eye-catching— the ad for his new scent Bang wasn’t the only component that stood out. A concerted digital effort generated considerable buzz—from a Facebook app that allowed users to “bang” others and gain points for attractiveness to a bold bottle design. “Bang had great entertainment value,” says NPD’s Karen Grant. “They tied themselves into the digital age and went beyond the in-store presence and promotion.” Granted, the ad campaign didn’t hurt, but it turns out that Jacobs’ rationale for posing nude went much deeper than mere shock value. He wanted to convey that scent is a personal passion. “Once I agreed to be the model, I couldn’t see what I would wear to express this [passion],” he said. “We tried it with clothes, but it didn’t work.” —M.W.E.


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