This is a terrific initiative by Estee Lauder, seamlessly combining live + digital. From AdAge
: The venerable Estee Lauder cosmetics brand has found a seemingly natural way to connect with social media: offering free makeovers and photo shoots at its department-store cosmetics counters coast-to-coast to produce shots women can use for their online profiles. The promotion
, which kicks off Oct. 16 at Bloomingdale's in New York and will extend initially to Macy's, Saks and other Bloomingdale's stores in Southern California, Miami and Chicago, also includes a giveaway of a 10-day supply of foundation. Defying convention in a prestige cosmetics industry that has buried consumers under piles of makeup totes and other "gifts with purchase" for decades, no purchase is required for these gifts. The gift that the brand hopes will keep on giving is that the profile photos include the Estee Lauder logo in the background, which, assuming they aren't Photoshopped into oblivion, could give the brand lasting presence on Facebook beyond its own 27,000-member plus fan page. The promotion is being plugged on that page, as well as on Estee Lauder's website, and the company is also using PR to spread the word. With a target age of 35 to 55, Estee Lauder consumers aren't necessarily prototypical social-media mavens. But the promotion has a dual strategy, said spokeswoman Tara Eisenberg: helping contemporize the brand for younger women while recognizing that somewhat older women have rapidly embraced social media, too. AdAge's Kunur Patel
wrote about experiencing this campaign for herself
at the initial New York event:
The session started with snapping a "before" pic at the Estee Lauder cosmetics counter's newly installed computer kiosk, which salespeople tell me will stay around even after the promotion ends. Sitting in front of the kiosk, a webcam grabbed a picture of the not-yet-glamorous me, and a staff makeup specialist started to test out a range of shades on a pixilated palette version of my face. But instead of waiting for the Photoshop-esque makeover, I opted to scoot right over for the real thing. I sat down with an artist who started by rubbing some creams and gels into my cheeks. She very sweetly informed me I could use some hydration, and Estee had just the thing for me. Layers of foundation, liners, shadows and powders later, I emerged a new woman. While I had asked for a toned-down, professional look, my new plum pout had me feeling more like a mobile upload to Facebook on Saturday night. Freshly done up, I headed over to the brand's photo-shoot station, where the face of Estee Lauder, model Hilary Rhoda, offered to teach me how to pose for the camera. My pink oxford paled in comparison to her magenta mini dress and stilettos, so I politely offered to brave the lights and photographer on my own. A couple of smiles and flashes later and I was ready to go. Behind the scenes, a retoucher hid the blemishes the makeup artist couldn't, and by the time I got back to the office, my before-and-after pics were waiting in my inbox. While Estee's social-media service could use more subtle dials to get at those looks between off-the-street and super-vamp, a makeover is a makeover. It was fun, and the whole experience was a lot more glamorous than my previous experience with the brand, which was a dull tube of mascara and neutral eyeshadow in my mom's bathroom cabinet. Though a couple other women getting makeovers were older than me, a good number of the salespeople weren't. They were young and made-up but classy -- a lot different than the rainbow, slightly gothic Mac Cosmetics people I usually buy eyeshadow from. So, am I going to post my made-over pic to my LinkedIn profile? I would, if I were a news anchor. But I'm sure my Facebook friends will get a kick out of it, and I'm betting the Estee and Bloomie's branding in the background won't be lost on them.