On August 21, Aurora published a story on Maybelline’s ‘#MakeItHappen’ campaign titled ‘Maybelline makes it happen’, which gave an overview of the concept behind the campaign and its objectives. Here, we discuss the campaign’s development and execution by Adcom ZenithOptimedia, the brand’s creative agency, and the challenges and opportunities of a digital-first campaign in Pakistan.
In early 2016, Maybelline (L’Oreal’s primary makeup brand) changed their global positioning and with it, their iconic tagline ‘Maybe she is born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline’ to ‘#MakeItHappen’.
The new positioning and tagline was a shift from celebrating external beauty, which implied that luck plays a major role in being beautiful, to a more empowered and proactive approach of self-confidence and making goals happen. The '#MakeItHappen' tagline, as the brand’s global official website states, “celebrates women as they create and carve out a name for themselves.”
The new global positioning was reflected in the ad campaigns launched in markets worldwide. In Pakistan, the campaign was released on July 15, 2017 by Adcom ZenithOptimedia, which conceived, conceptualised and executed it. This is also the first time Maybelline launched an ad campaign in Pakistan.
The Pakistani campaign has two unique aspects. Firstly, compared to the global campaigns, all of which had an upbeat, fast-paced feel to it, the execution was more ‘mellow’ and celebrated Pakistan’s culture, nuances and the uniqueness of Pakistani women. Secondly, the campaign is digital-only (a first for L’Oreal), with very few POS and on-ground activities and no ATL promotions; an approach which suggests the growing attraction of digital-focused campaigns in Pakistan.
According to Farzana Abdullah, Associate Business Director, Adcom ZenithOptimedia, “when the global positioning changed, we knew this was our chance to encourage and celebrate the strength, confidence and determination of Pakistani women.”
The centerpiece of the campaign was a song video (called ‘Maker Women Anthem'), which is a cover of the old Pakistani film song, Humsa ho to saamnay aye by Ali Sethi (no other Maybelline market has released a song), and features Ayesha Omar (model and actor), Sarah Tareen (martial artist), Alina Ehtesham (photography student), Naveen Shakil (graffiti and street artist) and Zoe Viccaji (singer and producer) – edgy, stylish and confident women who have made their mark in their respective fields.
These women, says Abdullah “are not the typical fair-complexioned maidens that Pakistanis usually find beautiful. This was a conscious effort to pick women of different skin tones and style choices. In the communication, Alina has henna on her hands, Zoe’s top has Sindhi rilli embellishments and Naveen is standing on top of a kaali-peeli taxi – all cues to our local intricacies and diversity.”
In Abdullah’s opinion, most Pakistani women are not very self confident and the '#MakeItHappen' campaign “is an opportunity to plant the seed that the future of women is in their hands – they can make it happen!”
The shooting style and the location in the video also reflect the theme of the campaign.
According to the video’s director, Mohsin Kamal (he has also directed ads for Lipton, Nestle and KFC), “the outdoor shots are both edgy and realistic; we steered clear from trying to give a fake clean-cut look.”
“Content consumption trends in Pakistan, especially in the urban demographic, have changed and digital cannot be an afterthought for a brand targeting a young and urban audience.”
Care was taken to ensure that each shot told the story of each of the different women and why she is ‘a maker woman’. “My vision for the video was to celebrate Pakistani women, who I believe are emotionally stronger than men,” says Kamal.
Apart from the video, the digital campaign included short testimonials by each of the five women on their outlook on life as well as tutorials on how to achieve a styling look.
Speaking about the decision to focus on digital, Tehreem Samad, Digital Strategist and Account Manager, Adcom ZenithOptimedia, says that “content consumption trends in Pakistan, especially in the urban demographic, have changed and digital cannot be an afterthought for a brand targeting a young and urban audience.”
According to Syed Farooq Ahmed, GM, Consumer Products Division, L’Oreal, ever since Maybelline’s launch in 2009, they have been a digital-first brand. “Our target audience is online, our communication is interactive and depends on consumer engagement and feedback – and all this is only possible on digital.”
Abdullah adds that “a three-minute song video cannot work on TV. People will probably switch the channel after watching 20 or 30 seconds, and with this campaign we wanted people to watch the entire video and really get to that heartfelt, emotional feel.”
Digital distribution also offers audience targeting and retargeting based on the feedback as well as the option to share content.
In Samad’s opinion certain brands can survive and succeed by advertising only on digital, something that would have been inconceivable a few years ago.
“The KPIs given to us by Maybelline were to achieve 640,250 total video views and 63,750 post engagements – the video has already received more than four million views and 171,978 engagements till now. In short, the bet to go digital worked for Maybelline.”
Maybelline is now planning follow-up activities throughout the year and include video makeup tutorials and testimonials of ‘ordinary’ women who are not celebrities.