Becoming a Big Time Charlie

  • Becoming a Big Time Charlie

    Case Study


    James Barrett talked to creative agency Starcom MediaVest about cosmetic brand Revlon and the revitalising power of live marketing.

    When creative agency Starcom MediaVest (SMV) were challenged to revitalise a flagging brand aimed at 11 to16-year-old girls, it found itself basing part of a new marketing campaign around what it called a 'super playground'.

    Cosmetics brand Revlon desperately needed to halt slumping sales and re-invigorate its Charlie brand.  This case study follows how the Spirit brand was used in a new marketing push. "Once a popular purchase with teenage girls in the 1970s and 80s, research concluded that by 2007 Charlie had lost touch with today's consumer," says account manager at SMV, Lauren Raymond.

    SMV discovered that to be counted in the world of teenage girls, you needed to belong. With that in mind, it set about bringing Charlie to life.

    Event Strategy

    The idea was taken to create an actual Charlie character and build the campaign around research which discovered that its target market used physical and virtual social networks to discuss new products and build friendships.

    The decision was made to move the brand away from traditional media, and set up a MySpace page. "We wanted Charlie to both participate in, and enable, the friendship group behaviour of our target audience," adds Raymond. The Charlie MySpace page acted as a hub for potential brand advocates to visit, which in turn drove awareness of Charlie's presence at the UnderAge Festival at London's Victoria Park last August.

    Charlie is such a good friend to her advocates that she invited them to join her at last summer's UnderAge Festival. To start generating a buzz, Charlie invited her MySpace chums to show a little summer spirit. Through relevant teen magazines and weekly e-bulletins, Charlie encouraged girls to send in pictures of themselves embracing the 'Spirit of Summer'.

    "As one of the product lines is called 'Charlie: Spirit', we thought this was a great way of aligning the brand to something fun," explains Raymond. "As more and more girls contributed, a 'Spirit of Summer' wall was activated where they could browse the pictures, leave comments and vote on their favourites."

    Over 130 pictures were posted, with 180 votes cast to crown the winner of a competition connected to the 'Spirit of Summer'. The winner was given the opportunity to interview indie-rock band Mystery Jets onboard the MySpace Live bus. This bus acts as a mini stage at various festivals up and down the UK.

    On a weekly basis, other participants won bright pink digital cameras or tickets to the Festival, which acted as another word of mouth creator to further the brand and increase awareness of Charlie's presence at Victoria Park.

    The UnderAge Festival is strictly for 14  to 18-year-old attendees. Run by London's UnderAge club, the bar areas serve only soft drinks, with musical acts like Hadouken, Ellie Goulding and Tinchy Stryder announced for 2010. Charlie had her own space at last year's event, setting up another photograph-related exhibit for advocates to visit.

    Within a white picket fenced off area, and next to the bus, Charlie set up a green screen photo booth. Visitors to the area could choose from a selection of backgrounds and have their picture taken with their friends. These were then downloadable after the event back on Charlie's web page.

    Charlie promotional staff also distributed branded Charlie merchandise, including T-shirts, goodie bags and samples of product around the whole of the festival.

    After a signing session, the Mystery Jets were interviewed by the competition winner on the top deck of the bus. The subsequent video was viewed 1,362 times and a further 139 visitors downloaded photos taken at the event.

    Beautiful Results

    Despite only expecting around 30,000 unique page views when the campaign started, the final count before the festival saw the website achieve 78,625 unique views.

    Charlie is now the number two body spray brand in the UK for 11 to 16-year-olds, and its market share increased 24 per cent between the beginning and end of the campaign.

    One new advocate wrote to Charlie stating, and I quote: "Thank you so much Charlie. I've got my badge and ur the beautiful girl I've ever met, and kind!?
    With endorsements like that, maybe more brands will revisit their school days for future marketing ideas"

    Click here to read the full case study.

    Becoming a Big Time Charlie

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