Beauty brands go real-time for award season

When the red carpets unfurl, beauty brands are at the ready

When the red carpets unfurl, cosmetic and beauty brands are at the ready. With so much media attention on fashion and famous faces during award season, brands such as L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Revlon are eager to make the glamour on TV accessible to consumers. A combination of paid and social media is helping them find those audiences in real time and amplify their message.

L’Oreal doubles down on its real-time red carpet strategy

Last February Hugo Thibault invited a group of his coworkers over to watch the Grammy Awards broadcast live at his loft in Montreal. L’Oreal Canada, where Thibault is director of communications, was advertising during the broadcast, and he wanted the team to get together and enjoy watching what looks turned up on the red carpet. He asked them to dress to theme in tuxes and gowns and stocked the loft with bubbly.

As the show began, the team started tweeting about the looks they saw, offering commentary and advice on how to recreate the looks on the cheap using L’Oreal products. Right away, the retweets started flowing in.

“The response from consumers was amazing,” Thibault said. “When you watch the Grammys and Beyonce appears, [consumers say], ‘Oh my god, that lip colour!’ and with an actual makeup artist next to me, they can say, ‘Oh, it’s this colour.’ And they can teach how to recreate the looks right at home.”

Two weeks later, the team reconvened to watch the Oscars at Le Germain hotel in Toronto, where they were preparing for a L’Oreal beauty expert’s Oscars segment on Breakfast Television. As with the Grammys, they saw huge traction on the posts.

After experimenting throughout awards season, the brand doubled down on its efforts for the 2014 season by allocating media spend to extend its social reach, creating a microsite to host all the content it created and enlisting a production company to shoot videos.

Like many other brands, including competitors like Cover Girl and Revlon (see below), the brand has taken a newsroom approach to 2014’s red carpets, creating content to share live on its digital channels as the events happen in real time.

Together with its digital agency, Nurun, a team of 12 makeup artists, hair stylists and community managers gathered around five TVs and seven computers on Jan. 12 to cover this year’s Golden Globes, the unofficial kickoff to awards season. A graphic designer was also there to quickly turn around image-heavy “get-the-look” layouts and Thibault oversaw the operation, signing off on all the content before it went live on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The team will repeat much of the routine for the major award shows this season, starting with the Grammys on Jan. 26. L’Oreal also plans to cover Berlinale, the Oscars, Festival de Cannes, Mostra Internzionale D’Art Cinematograpfica, TIFF and the American Music Awards, pairing together the biggest TV broadcasts with red-carpet-heavy film festivals that the brand sponsors.

Rather than simply “hijacking” festivals and TV events, as many brands do, Thibault said L’Oreal has put on-the-books marketing dollars behind many of the events it covers in real-time, pairing together TV ads, sponsorship initiatives and social media.

It’s also put a significant media buy behind the content on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, ensuring its seen by the brand’s target. “To amplify our message, we always have a bucket of dollars on Twitter to have a sponsored tweet or a sponsored hashtag. That ensures that they’re viewed and we can also increase our followers at the same time,” he said.

When Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hit the stage for their opening monologue at the Globes, the team got to work shooting videos with their experts, explaining how to get the looks that had just walked down the red carpet. Throughout the night, the team edited the videos, prepping for a pre-selected YouTube media buy that required them to submit creative for pre-roll by 7 a.m.

The turn-around time left little time for sleep, Thibault admits. “We do get to sleep…about four or five hours,” he laughs. “It’s a long night, but it’s fun.”

Cover Girl partners with Twitter and Shaw to offer real-time video clips

During the People’s Choice Awards, Global TV shared video clips from the show on Twitter with seven second pre-roll ads by Cover Girl.

The media buy took advantage of Twitter Amplify, an ad unit Twitter Canada took to market for the first time this winter. Pairing together live TV with social media (Cover Girl also ran ads during the broadcast) the buy helped ensure consumers following the award show would associate the brand with the red carpet, having seen the brand’s marketing materials on at least one medium.

In one clip Sarah Michelle Gellar offer belated thanks to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a much-discussed moment from the broadcast. In another, Justin Timberlake thanked his wife, Jessica Biel, for teaching him about domesticity, a cute clip that showed up on news media sites covering the show just as Global tweeted it with the Cover Girl pre-roll.

While the broadcast was short on moments worthy of Miley Cyrus tongue-wagging levels of buzz, the clips provided content from the show in an easily digestible format, especially for viewers who didn’t watch the show but wanted to see the moments that involved their favourite celebrities.

In the U.S., Cover Girl’s social team also live-tweeted the event, commenting on the night’s beauty trends and winners and retweeting a post by Queen Latifah, a Cover Girl spokesperson, showing the best new talk show host winner getting ready for the red carpet using Cover Girl cosmetics.

They later posted an image-based how-to showing which products will create Latifah’s look.

Revlon Canada focuses on PR, brand ambassadors

For the 2014 awards season, Revlon Canada has taken a more PR-driven approach to covering the red carpet, focusing on global beauty ambassadors like Emma Stone and Olivia Wilde.

After the two actors hit the red carpet at the Golden Globe’s, the brand sent press releases to media with quotes from the celebrity makeup artists behind Stone and Wilde’s looks, explaining which products they had used and how consumers can recreate those looks using Revlon.

On Facebook, the brand also teased its upcoming collection with the fashion house Marchesa, telling consumers to “Get Red Carpet Ready” with Revlon by Marchesa on Jan. 12, ahead of most of the major awards shows.

The brand’s U.S. counterpart also shared the PR materials showing how to get Wilde’s Golden Globe’s look via a graphic on Facebook.

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