Media: Strategy Analysis - Max Factor made-up by lipstick drive

Brand: Max Factor - Lipfinity
Client: Olga Rubanovskaya, assistant brand manager, Max Factor, Procter
& Gamble UK
Brief: Turn Lipfinity sales around with an image update
Target audience: Female consumers, all ages (prime prospect: 18- to
25-year-olds)
Budget: n/s

AGENCIES
Media: Starcom
Creative: Leo Burnett
Digital agency: SixandCo
PR: Ketchum

STRATEGY

The campaign objective was to refresh Lipfinity's image and help revitalise the lips segment for Max Factor, which had been recently declining.

The strategy involved building emotional relevance with consumers and targeting them where most receptive, while also highlighting the Lipfinity product benefits and key message that Lipfinity guarantees long-lasting sexy lips: "Sexy Lips 100 per cent guaranteed all day or all night long. Is your lipstick still on?"

EXECUTION

A holistic, through-the-line strategy was implemented for this campaign, incorporating a combination of television, print, ambient media, PR and online activity.- TV The offline activity comprised one month of TV (ten-second coverage) on ITV, Channel 4, five and satellite, plus three print advertorials in Elle magazine to promote a dating event specifically linked to sexy lips.

Ambient activity with branded wine glasses, audio panels and mirror stickers appeared in washrooms throughout the country. - PR Ketchum developed the partnership with Elle to include an exclusive dating event at Absolut Icebar London. - Online SixandCo, the digital marketing agency, launched the online video-based interactive Flash game for Lipfinity - a first for Max Factor.

The online activity ran between 1 September and 30 October 2006, though the game is still available to play online.

On entering the Max Factor website, consumers are encouraged to play the game, "Impress Max", by impressing the virtual character Max with their kissable lips.

The website also includes a competition to win a dream date, as well as viral activity with a "tell a friend e-mail", which enables new consumers to be added to the database.

Traffic was directed to the website via an online media campaign on prime prospect targeted sites such as Glamour and Handbag, plus an e-mail to the consumer database.

RESULTS

The results were very positive, both on sales and brand image for Max Factor, with the highest Lipfinity consumption since the previous promotional launch campaign for Lipfinity Everlites two years ago.

Interviews were conducted with 304 18- to 34-year-old females in bars across the country. Seventy-two per cent recalled seeing the Max Factor advertising, with 51 per cent specifically recalling the Lipfinity brand.

The online campaign was met with great success: 35,320 hits from the Impress Max kissing game plays. There were 5,138 competition entries.

Statistics for maxfactor.co.uk taken from Urchin tracking tool, October 2006

THE VERDICT - Mark Sherwood, executive planning director, Rocket

Germaine Greer recently said: "The first attribute of the art object is that it creates a discontinuity between itself and the unsynthesised manifold." For her troubles, she received a Plain English Campaign Golden Bull award. However, having read this strategy review, it appears it's not only Australian academics that fall victim to over-complicating the simple. Here we have a campaign strategy that "involved building emotional relevance with consumers". They've set out to achieve it through a "holistic, through-the-line strategy". The joy of media speak.

I think what they are simply trying to do is to show women the benefits of using the product. The way they've done this is to try to show a variety of said benefits, such as "you'll be a better kisser" or "you're more likely to get a date if you have 'long-lasting sexy lips'". As a campaign strategy, it seems a little unfocused and unclear.

As for the actual activity, the Elle partnership is fine, and the website is interactive and quite amusing. Beyond this, they've got a few ambient ideas which help bring the campaign to life a bit. However, let's be honest, TV is the lead medium; they appear to have used it in a very conventional way, and I don't see any examples of how it is "holistic" with the rest of the campaign.

In terms of results, they look good, but in my opinion, the campaign would have been better if underpinned by a central strategy. This should have been based on a clear consumer insight which should have, in turn, provided some benefit to the consumer. For example, a chat with the girls at the office made one thing clear - they don't know if they're good kissers. Funnily enough, although you can get self-help for virtually anything, you never get taught the art of kissing. So, how about establishing Lipfinity as the brand that makes you a better kisser?

From this, a whole raft of activity could have been developed: viral tips from Max; sponsorship of kiss flicks; a weblog where women could exchange tips; sending out kiss advisors to work in bars; getting celebrities to offer tips in Heat, etc. I'm not saying these ideas are necessarily right, but it shows if you develop a strategy consumers relate to, then it's easier to come up with implementational ideas that all work together.

Score: 2 out of 5.

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