Case Study

Why Benefit used pink astronauts and a silver space pod to launch its new mascara

Pink astronauts and a silver space pod made a dramatic impact in an out-of-this-world campaign for BADgal BANG! mascara that delivered impressive results.

Why Benefit used pink astronauts and a silver space pod to launch its new mascara

Landing a spaceship in a London theatre may not be the most conventional way to boost sales but for beauty brand Benefit, the silver craft and its pink astronauts delivered both the impact and the results it needed.

Benefit is already the market leader when it comes to mascara. It has also secured the second spot, according to NPD. So when it came to launching Benefit’s first new mascara in three years, the brand wanted to pull out all the stops.

BADgal BANG! contains aero-particles, which are used in spacesuits to make them lightweight but volumous – two must-have qualities in the world of mascara.

"We know 88% of women in the UK wear mascara and we currently have the number one and two products – they are huge sellers for us, proving the demand is there," Kyra White, head of brand activation at Benefit Cosmetics, explains. "All the retailers that we spoke to told us it would be the biggest beauty launch of the year."

A product as important as this to the brand had to be kept under wraps until the last minute. This, of course, would build anticipation and excitement among die-hard fans while generating intrigue among potential new customers. We also knew that the product would go on sale at the same time in every market so the UK launch needed to make an impressive impact on sales.

Another challenge was that Benefit had to contend with a global product embargo. Knowing that we had to launch at precisely 8pm on 1 February meant creating that big moment would be all important. We had to produce something theatrical and exciting that everyone would want to share at that precise moment.

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Themed worlds

Benefit creates power visuals around its products, opening up themed worlds populated by characters such as the Bondesque Spy Gal, who promotes the Porefessional primer range. For the launch of BADgal BANG! we were given a stunning, retro, space-themed world to play in ­– a theme with huge and exciting potential.

Planning the launch of the mascara began in 2017 and we all knew pink astronauts would play a big part. Working alongside PR agency DeVries, The Persuaders built a teaser campaign, which showed the pink astronauts roving around London, followed by the big launch moment itself. The final part of the campaign involved putting the product into consumers’ hands via an experiential UK tour.

The Persuaders’ creative team has always loved and been inspired by Hollywood musicals – the impossibly large dance numbers, the drama and sparkling lights – and we’d always wanted to bring a touch of this magic to a Benefit event. Designing a spaceship that could land in a theatre was our big moment – pulling it off was another thing!

We chose the disused Cochrane Theatre in Holborn as the venue for the launch event because it had the capacity to land the silver space pod in the party. The 250 guests, comprising press and influencers, all went live with their social media at the same time, causing #BADgalBANG to hit the number-one spot trending globally on Twitter and Instagram.

Sales boost

The potential total reach was more than 36 million views over the campaign period and the launch generated 45 pieces of coverage. Of these, 25 print articles had a total reach of 2.3 million views, 14 pieces of national coverage had a combined reach of 32 million and 15 online pieces had a reach of more than 34 million views.

The space pod then went on a tour of three major UK city centres – London, Cardiff and Manchester. More than 650 consumer consultations led to direct sales at local Boots counters, with stores in these cities coming in the top five of the highest-selling shops during the launch weekend.

It’s been two weeks since the launch and we have already been notified by NPD that BADgal BANG! is currently the number-one-selling mascara in the UK meaning that Benefit holds the top three spots, which, as the ultimate goal of our campaign, is something all the teams are very excited about.

Dom Franks and Andy McDonald are director and managing director and creative director at The Persuaders respectively