Holmes Report 30 Apr 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
Coyne PR consistently creates buzz amongst U.S. women’s magazines for new Mary Kay products. For the important launch of the new Mary Kay TimeWise Foundation, the brand charged Coyne PR with replicating in additional markets and energizing the Mary Kay Independent Sales Force (the sole selling channel and major advocates of new products). To inform and excite editors from three North American markets, highlight the brand’s recent contemporizing efforts and inspire the Mary Kay Independent Sales Force around the launch of Mary Kay TimeWise Liquid Foundation – 23 new shades of foundation in two finishes – Coyne PR conceptualized and executed a multi-session, interactive media workshop at the chic Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.
1) Capture the attention of women’s magazine editors from the U.S., Mexico and Canada around the launch of the new Mary Kay TimeWise Liquid Foundation line.
2) Stimulate trial among beauty editors and contemporize their impressions of the brand.
3) Excite the Mary Kay Independent Sales Force over the new products.
In a nutshell, Coyne PR was charged with creating an event “template” for the foundations launch that could easily be adapted and replicated for a number of Mary Kay audiences.
Additionally, as beauty editors typically go to numerous launch events, the team sought to secure the attendance and captivate the attention of these selective editors at the Mary Kay event.
Beauty editors often avoid trying color products on their faces, instead often swatch testing makeup on their hands. For foundation, however, it is crucial that the editors actually apply the foundation to their faces to feel the finish of the product and get an accurate color match for their complexion.
Mary Kay is a unique brand in that the only way to buy products is through the Independent Sales Force. For that reason, it was critical that the Coyne PR team involved them in the launch and excited them about the new products, so that they would be enthusiastic in sharing the foundations with their customers.
The Coyne PR team conducted several rounds of New York City site checks to narrow down event space options to a favorite few that fit the event needs and the Mary Kay image.
To determine how to achieve the greatest attendance at the launch, the Coyne PR team reached out to top beauty editor contacts with whom they had cultivated close relationships. The team inquired about their favorite unique venues, event times they were most likely to attend and optimal event length.
To determine how to set apart Mary Kay’s messaging, the Coyne PR team conducted a competitive analysis by pulling women’s magazine foundation placements and advertisements for six months prior to the event. The team scanned the Internet, YouTube and Facebook to determine how other beauty brands recently launched their foundation products, to help strategize how to set this event apart.
• Create an impacting and visually stunning event highlighting the benefits of the new line, how to use the products and how they differ from other foundations on the market.
• Create a personalized experience for each editor in attendance and encourage them to personally interact with the products.
• Enlist well-known industry spokespeople to provide personal tips and demonstrate how to use the products.
• Replicate the editor experience to educate and excite the Mary Kay Independent Sales Force.
The Coyne PR team scheduled interactive workshop sessions broken down by general market, Spanish-speaking and Canadian editors, as well as Mary Kay National Sales Directors, to give each group of attendees a personalized experience. The sessions were spaced throughout the day in the plush rooftop garden space of the Gramercy Park Hotel – a space recommended by several beauty editors.
A magical garden feel was created for all sessions, juxtaposing the lush green garden space with sleek white tables and chairs containing lit makeup mirrors and customized workspaces for each editor. The participating professional and celebrity makeup artists – well known names fluent in languages corresponding to each of the sessions – recommended a foundation shade for each attendee.
The makeup artists acted as presenters during each session, speaking from a lit, raised area at the front of the intimate, glowing garden. They discussed tips for finding the right foundation shade and applying it to the whole face and demonstrated application tricks on three models customized for the demographic of each session. The makeup artists also highlighted unique product attributes and spent individual time answering editor questions and helping them choose their own foundation shades and finishes.
A raised, lit product display, which participants were shown past before leaving, showcased the broader Mary Kay line, for which the boxes, bottles and tubes were rebranded with sleek, modern packaging.
To energize the Independent Sales Force, the Coyne PR team planned the event around the timing of the brand’s annual Mary Kay National Sales Director Advisory Board Meeting. The Advisory Board includes 12 of the most influential decision makers and top sales performers of the Mary Kay Sales Force. The team chose to host the group in New York – a new and exciting location for their meeting – to provide them with the VIP editor workshop experience. Following the Advisory Board Meetings, the National Sales Directors are charged with sharing their experiences and product information with the larger sales force who look up to them.
Evaluation of Success/Results
1) An impressive 31 general market women’s magazine editors attended the event, representing 82 percent of Mary Kay’s target outlets. Five selected beauty editors were flown in from Canada and editors representing 13 Mexican and Spanish-language publications attended. Among others, Prevention, Fitness, Family Circle, Us Weekly and Ladies’ Home Journal already requested samples of the foundations for potential feature.
2) As a result of the makeup artist shade matching tips and one-on-one application assistance, across all editor event sessions, more than 75 percent of the beauty editors actually applied the foundation to their faces and many editors remarked how amazing the product felt!
The brands efforts to contemporize were exhibited through the intimate and instructive event, the showcase displaying modern products, the posh, celebrity-loved venue and the fresh models and upbeat makeup artists. Whereas in the past, editors remarked that they viewed Mary Kay as “your mother’s makeup,” perceptions seemed to change as a number of editors raved that they love and would wear the new foundations, as well as other Mary Kay products.
3) The Mary Kay National Sales Director Advisory Board were so excited about the event that they were smiling, laughing and taking photo and video footage throughout the workshop to share with other Mary Kay Independent Sales Force members. They commented on the special treatment they received in New York and how amazing the new products are. The team even received a note from the president of Mary Kay U.S. stating that this was one of the best sales force launches he had witnessed.