October 10, 2012
Beauty brand Laura Mercier is using Vogue.com to promote The Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund that is designed to allow donations to the cause.
Laura Mercier placed banner, drop-down and side tower ads that allowed consumers to connect to the brand Web site. Since consumers are more likely to buy from brands aligned with charitable causes, it makes sense that Laura Mercier is flaunting its cause to site visitors.
“Laura Mercier’s ads draw attention to another worthy women’s issue - ovarian cancer,” said Rachel Lewis, Fort Worth, TX-based senior strategist at iProspect.
“At this time of year, this health concern is likely overshadowed by consumer attention on breast cancer awareness,” she said. “In a sea of pink October marketing initiatives, these striking ads by Laura Mercier standout while reminding women of the threat of ovarian cancer and the need for research funding.
“Vogue is the world’s most recognized name in fashion and beauty and, as a result, Vogue.com allows luxury brands to gain visibility among a relevant and connected audience.”
Ms. Lewis is not affiliated with Laura Mercier, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Laura Mercier did not respond before press deadline.
The Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund is designed to raise awareness and fund research and educational efforts to help diagnose, treat and support women with ovarian cancer.
Shopping for a cause
Vogue gives marketers solo access to a page when advertising on its site.
The first of the Laura Mercier ads is the banner ad. It takes up an entire panel on the scrolling bar at the top of the page.
The ad reads, “Speak out for hope” and explains the charity. The image is a close-up of a woman’s nose and mouth painted teal, the color for ovarian cancer.
The banner ad on the Vogue.com site
Consumers are invited to “shop for a cause” which links them to the Laura Mercier Web site.
Meanwhile, consumers can also click on the side-panel and drop-down ads further down on the page.
The side-panel ad features the Bonnie Mine lip and cheek crème and Rose Hope Lip Glacé that give 100 percent of proceeds to the charity. The ad’s image interchanges between this and the same teal lips from the top of the page.
Side-panel and drop-down ads on Vogue.com
Also, consumers can click on a drop-down ad that has virtually the same images of the teal lips as the other ads.
When consumers add a product to their shopping bag on the Laura Mercier site – whether or not it is the lip glacé or lip and cheek crème – they have the option to donate $1 or $5 to the brand’s charity.
“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many advertisers are working this theme into their marketing strategies,” Ms. Lewis said. “As a result, this issue is receiving considerable attention from brands and consumers.
“In contrast, by providing shoppers the opportunity to support ovarian cancer, Laura Mercier is sharing the brand’s commitment to a lesser-known women’s health issue,” she said. “The same can be said for Vogue.com, whose readership skews heavily female.
“These ads connect the site with issues important to women.”
Beauty is within
Many luxury marketers are looking to connect with affluent consumers through charities.
For example, New York-based retailer Bergdorf Goodman partnered with the Melanoma Research Alliance to promote safe sun habits and UV-protecting beauty products to consumers via social media initiatives and in-store events.
During Melanoma Awareness Month, the retailer donated 10 percent of proceeds from select beauty products to the Melanoma Research Alliance. Bergdorf reached out to consumers to promote this initiative with multiple campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and its blog (see story).
“Goodwill and philanthropic efforts help elevate a brand's reputation and often product sales,” said Mary Elise Chavez, director of creative strategy for Blue Fountain Media, New York.
“Consumers like to see brands contribute to the broader world and community, especially if it is a cause that they can relate to or may be susceptible to,” she said.
Since both Ms. Mercier and CEO/president Claudia Poccia have been affected by ovarian cancer, this makes the cause personal for the brand. In turn, this alignment gives consumers who care about this cause a deeper connection to the brand.
However, the brand could be marketing the promotion a little bit better, Ms. Chavez said.
For example, Laura Mercier could connect these efforts to its Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, the link from the ads to the Web site does not link to the product pages featured through the creative.
“If they introduced the donation pathway through a targeted landing page, rather than the product page, they would better educate the user and have a higher chance at conversion, of both product and donation,” Ms. Chavez said. “Also, they could feature all relevant campaign products on this page so they can better track conversion.
“There are countless comments on the beauty blogs saying that people wish the teal lipstick shown in the ads was being sold,” Ms. Chavez said. “I think Mercier could learn a lesson from MAC - even if the product is edgy and unique, consumers will be drawn to purchase if it is branded well and in this case, helping a greater cause.”
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York