To drive awareness of its new line of eye shadows, the Nudes Palette, Maybelline New York created a digital-first campaign featuring custom-branded videos from YouTube content creators and beauty vloggers. The campaign succeeded by getting the right content in front of the right YouTube audiences.
Founded in 1915, Maybelline New York has grown to become a household name and one of America's top cosmetics companies. With a huge array of beloved products and a globally recognised slogan, Maybelline New York wanted the launch of its newest eye shadow set, the Nudes Palette, to be unique and fresh – and it turned to YouTube to achieve this.
"Beauty consumers focus on products instead of brands," said Diana Madkekar, senior manager, digital marketing, Maybelline New York. Because of that, Maybelline New York often puts the majority of its marketing muscle behind new product launches, and the Nudes Palette launch was a good example of how that strategy can work. "We set out to create a 'heat moment' around this launch, then built consumer awareness and desire for this prestige-inspired product," said Madkekar.
YouTube: The battleground for beauty
For the release of the Nudes Palette, Maybelline New York partnered with media agency Digitas LBi to launch the Dare to Go Nude campaign, turning to YouTube and its legion of influencers and content creators to move the needle. Maybelline New York also collaborated with Google’s Brand Partner Programme, envisioning creative and strategic solutions to the product launch. By leveraging the Brand Partner Programme, Maybelline New York was able to join forces with YouTube creators, such as Vice and StyleHaul, while building brand loyalty with beauty influencers across YouTube. After all, vloggers and content creators trigger about 97% of conversations on YouTube for beauty brands, according to a recent Pixability beauty study.
"YouTube is a battleground for beauty," Madkekar said, "and we needed to make noise there to become the next must-have beauty product."
Additionally, Maybelline New York leveraged the entire YouTube ecosystem by using YouTube Masthead, TrueView, and Google Preferred products. Its campaign included print ads and eventually led to TV spots. By combining all of these elements with custom-branded content from content creators (Vice and StyleHaul) and 13 top YouTube creators, Maybelline New York was able to increase sales and awareness around the Nudes Palettes while increasing overall engagement and YouTube subscribers.
Drive your creative and media strategies with online video
To tease the campaign before its launch in mid-July 2014, Maybelline New York partnered with Vice's fashion culture magazine, i-D, and released a short, tongue-in-cheek video starring models Jourdan Dunn, Staz Lindes, and Devon Aoki. The brand also collaborated with 13 beauty vloggers who brought the campaign to life with their unique applications of the product.
Each vlogger created a signature look using the Nudes Palettes, giving their fans new YouTube how-to videos. How-to videos were a perfect fit for this campaign; their popularity is rooted in the fact that 66% of beauty consumers agree that "YouTube is one of the best sites to help me visualise how different products fit into my lifestyle."
"We looked at what formats work best on YouTube in regard to inspirational and educational content," Madkekar said. "YouTube definitely drove both our creative and our media strategies."
Maybelline New York's paid media approach focused on getting this newly created content in front of fashion and beauty enthusiasts, who were most likely to be enticed by the product's versatility and affordability. To kick off the campaign and scale it on launch day, Maybelline New York executed a YouTube Masthead takeover for desktop and mobile. "We served multiple videos through remarketing and high-impact video units to encourage continued engagement throughout the campaign," Madkekar explained.
The company also leveraged Google Preferred to drive awareness, thereby running the brand's ad ahead of highly trafficked content on YouTube. Using Google Preferred enabled Maybelline New York to access popular and engaging beauty channels on YouTube. By running its ads on Google Preferred beauty lineup channels, Maybelline New York was able to reach more consumers who were likely to convert. According to the brand, the resulting YouTube comments showed "visible purchase intent".
"Google Preferred was our trump card," said Madkekar. "We were creating content with talent that's endemic to YouTube, in a format that's endemic to YouTube, and made sure we placed in the beauty inventory that Google Preferred offers. So it ended up being this magical thing that happens in digital when you have the right time, the right place and the right content."
Maybelline New York also added a layer of TrueView ads to its YouTube videos, which provided reach based on audience lifestyle, interests and demographics. TrueView was essential in driving further engagement for the brand, allowing Maybelline New York to share longer pieces of content while giving consumers the option to either watch or skip ahead. Google Preferred alone generated 15 million impressions, while TrueView delivered 1.4 million views.
YouTube yields results
The results of Maybelline New York's Dare to Go Nude campaign exceeded all of the brand's expectations, including a 2.4X to 2.9X lift in brand awareness. The initial i-D teaser video garnered more than 1.8 million views, with an average play-through of 54%. The 13 YouTube vloggers accounted for 58% of overall watch time for the entire campaign, indicating just "how important those vloggers were to the success of the campaign," Madkekar said.
Maybelline New York's YouTube Masthead takeover also delivered strong results: 140 million impressions and 1.46 million clicks. And of those, 70% of impressions and 92% of clicks came from mobile devices, underscoring the growing importance of mobile.
"Digital consumers' expectations towards our brands have changed with the influx of mobile advertising," said Marie Gulin-Merle, chief marketing officer at L'Oréal USA (Maybelline New York's parent company). "Because beauty is highly personal, conversational, social and increasingly digitised, we must provide our consumers with customised, dynamic content so we can better engage and connect with them at each and every step of their brand discovery and shopping journeys. The role of digital is crucial in building an intimate relationship with our customers, who expect more value, more services, more engagements and more conversation from our beauty brands."
Exploring the new frontier
The brand's resonance with viewers extended beyond paid views. In its first four weeks, the campaign pulled in 9.1 million organic video views, even though Maybelline New York had only anticipated 4 million views over the duration of the campaign.
The eye-catching success of the Dare to Go Nude digital campaign has "challenged a lot of people at Maybelline New York and L'Oréal to rethink campaign development," said Madkekar. "YouTubers are evolving, and their audiences are evolving. So we're definitely exploring the new frontier of video formats, including YouTube, for our next campaign."