If you’ve ever been engaged in branding cosmetics, this case study is for you.
The room was dimly lit, the air thick with tension.
The CEO put down his coffee. Slowly. Deliberately. His eyes never leaving his cup.
“Will this strategy guarantee us a prosperous future, diluting the strength of our competitors?”
“No. This strategy will simply do one thing: guarantee you have any future at all.”
That’s exactly how this product launch and brand started. Sort of.
Think of Me as an Assassin:
An Assassin of Mediocrity
Branding cosmetics is like warfare.
Coming in second place often means one of two things: they were smarter or you’re dead. Sometimes both.
And so it is on the battlefield of branding, marketing and specifically branding cosmetics when launching the brand.
This new brand had to come out of the gate strong, with an element of unpredictability and definite elements of surprise.
From the name and slogan to the package to how it was launched.
The target could not see it coming. This was vital.
It either had to go big or be prepared to go home… in a body bag.
There’s nothing noble about failure. And nothing succeeds like success.
And when you enter a crowded arena with power players who already know the angles, the tactics, the strategies, you can’t do the usual or the expected. Such players have deep, seemingly bottomless pockets to easily outspend you, so you have to be smart. Very, very smart.
When it Comes to Branding Cosmetics, What’s in a Name?
The product had to work in the US, Mexico (where it would first be unveiled) and Korea.
So the name had to be something that would work in these various countries with their distinct languages (and not have a name that meant something offensive or inadvertently sacrilegious). The category: skin care. The niche: the highly competitive and very crowded anti-aging category.
Given how crowded the anti-aging category is, the concept that led to the name was this:
Life has moments when we wish we could turn back the hands of time.
Sometimes it’s because we’re now a bit older and wiser and realize we could’ve done something a bit better. Other times, we wish for an “undo” button to reverse a moment of something said or done when the “send” button was pressed a moment too soon.
Well, now there is an “undo button” for one part of life.
Undew is a unique formulation that is designed to combat this one part of life: aging.
Due to today’s sugar-rich foods and high carbohydrate diets, blood sugar is higher than optimum. The result is sugar molecules append themselves to our body’s protein cells, making the body and its cells work harder and less efficiently (called glycation). The outome is that bodies age faster than they should, making us each look and feel older than we actually are.
Undew. Youth. Rebuilt. (The name is Undew. The slogan is Youth. Rebuilt.)
Knowing this would be a premium luxury brand, the initial sketches for the logo started:
This finally evolved into the final logo for the new brand.
Yesterday’s Great is Today’s Average:
Knowing When to Raise the Bar
Next came the package itself.
The product had to convey this was not just another skin care solution. After all, in just a couple of months, over 2,000 sales reps would be presented the new product and it had to hit big.
It had to look luxurious. Feel luxurious. Emanate attention to detail at every point of contact.
After seeking out various options (working closely with our client), we narrowed it down to what seemed the perfect container and printing techniques.
Be Bigger Than Life
(Or Go Home in a Body Bag)
The stakes were high. Over 2,000 reps would be traveling to this conference in Mexico.
It’s my job to lower the risk by bypassing the obvious, ordinary, normal approaches that everyone would see coming a mile away.
So, the solution was to create a powerful video that, for the first half, gave no idea what was being introduced. They only knew it was something new.
Knowing this would be presented in a pitch black room with over 2,000 sales reps, we finalized the plan, the concept, the soundtrack, the sequence and final edit.
The first 4.5 seconds of the video would have a pitch black screen with only sounds of rain, ambiance and other sound effects. Only after this did a single pixel start to dissolve onto the screen.
Locked and Loaded.
Unable to attend due to a prior commitment, I waited to hear how everything went on Saturday.
Saturday night came and went. No email or call.
Sunday morning, I checked. No email. No text or voicemail.
Sunday afternoon, the email finally came:
“We did it! Undew is now official and selling like crazy. The launch was a huge success. You were right, the opening video had them all screaming with excitement. The person next to me literally had goose bumps. It was awesome!
“On a plane now heading home after having very little sleep but it doesn’t matter. For the moment, life is good. We thank you for your contribution to another great launch. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. (Even “assassins of mediocrity” like to have confirmation of the target being attained.)
More specific to the product launch, the launch achieved these milestones:
- A record number of skin care sales
- A record number of viewers on a simultaneous broadcast in 10 countries
- Over 2,000 visited the Undew booth, and lastly
- The Dean of Universadad de Colima who attended the convention stated the packaging and brand image could be on the Champs Elysées, one of the world’s most famous streets with its cafés, cinemas and shops, and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world (which explains the photo at the start of this post).
Here is the video they didn’t see coming that launched this product (imagine yourself in a room of 2,000 in pitch black darkness and turn your speakers up):
That’s how this product launch crushed it, introduced a new brand, its first product in the line, selling product like crazy.
And this doesn’t just apply to branding cosmetics. It applies to branding anything.
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The Undew exhibit booth in Mexico where Undew premiered.