In what could become a model for similar programs, including in the U.S., P&G's Look Fab Studio, set to close May 13 after a one-month run in the heart of Toronto's hip Yonge St. shopping district, combined six of P&G's top beauty brands under one roof, offering makeovers, beauty advice and lots of samples.
Incorporates 'Canadian Idol'
The program is on trend for P&G in several areas of marketing, combining retail marketing, what the company calls "scale marketing" (or using leverage of its multiple brands by marketing them jointly) and integration with popular entertainment properties, in this case CTV's "eTalk" and "Canadian Idol" modeled on Fox's "American Idol."
Upshot, Chicago, a unit of Emak Worldwide, is lead agency on the program.
P&G ran a series of four two-minute "Showmercials" nationwide on "eTalk," a daily entertainment-news show, featuring the celebrity makeup artist for the program, Paul Venoit. The entertainment show did some of its celebrity interviews during the period at the Look Fab Studio. P&G also offered visitors to Look Fab chances to win a trip to this month's finale of "Canadian Idol," collecting their data in the process.
The program, moreover, included a website, Lookfab.ca, where people could get online beauty advice and enter the "Idol" contest.
First to market multiple brands
While other package-goods marketers, including Method, Unilever's Suave, L'Oreal and P&G's own Olay have used pop-up or permanent retail presences extensively as marketing tools, Look Fab may be the most fully integrated ever, as well as the first to market multiple brands at once.
Brands marketed in Look Fab include Olay, Pantene, Venus, Cover Girl, Crest and Clairol Nice & Easy. All of the brands did extensive sampling as part of the program, a P&G spokeswoman said.
Sampling, or what P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley termed "trial activity" in a May 1 conference call with investors, is going to be a key focus area for P&G as it boosts marketing spending in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
No competitors here
While P&G already can display its products and hand out samples in thousands of stores, a program like Look Fab gives it the opportunity to do so in an environment where none of its rivals are competing for attention. But with six brands involved, it can also spread the cost of some fairly expensive Toronto real estate across a lot of budgets.
Look Fab lets the brands engage visitors in a fairly extensive experience. They can't get free haircuts, the spokeswoman said, but they can get their hair colored and styled using Clairol and Pantene products or mini-makeovers with Cover Girl and Olay products.
P&G's North American Market Development Organization ran the program, also something of a departure. In the past, some of P&G's multi-brand efforts within the same business group -- such as the Home Made Simple online relationship program -- have been run within its global business units where the brand groups reside.
The P&G spokeswoman said she didn't know if the program will become a model for more efforts within Canada or the U.S., but said, "Based on the traffic, the studio is always busy, so from that perspective it's been a success. And the buzz generated around it has been very positive."