There's a princess inside every woman and a fantasy land where cuteness reigns supreme.
That's the story of Majolica Majorca, a cosmetics brand from Japan's Shiseido aimed at young women. Its jewel-like products are sold in six other Asian markets, backed by lush, web-based storytelling, whispering promises of everlasting loveliness. Even the name -- say it out loud a few times -- is supposed to evoke a fairytale spell.
"The brand itself is actually the magic to becoming an adorable woman," said Hidetaka Shimizu, a top marketing executive for Majolica Majorca. "If you wish hard, you will become pretty and it will come true."
In the land of Hello Kitty and iris-enlarging contact lenses, cuteness has cachet.
The brand was designed to introduce younger consumers to Shiseido cosmetics and is generally sold in drugstores at a price range of about $2.50 to $25, so affordability is one reason for its popularity. Romantic packaging and point-of -sale displays are designed to stand out among the clutter.
"It has to be something that people say, "Wow, it's so cute!' the minute they see it. It's just like falling in love," he said.
Because it targets younger consumers, Majolica Majorca eschews TV spots and focuses its marketing on magazine ads and the fantasy-based stories on its website and mobile app— whimsically animated tales around new products and tips on how to use them. A recent story, for example, was titled "Sugary Trap" and featured "Puff de Cheek" blush.
Partnerships with other brands also play a marketing role. To launch the new Majo Romantica fragrance, Shisheido worked with Haagen-Dazs, which was unveiling a fondant-chocolate ice-cream flavor. Using the association that both are "melty" and "sweet," the brands launched a collaboration website, a variety of media paid for by Haagen-Dazs and a "melty" newsletter that attracted 40,000 subscribers. The partnership also brought Majolica Majorca's name into convenience stores, where it previously had little presence.
After the launch, Majo Romantica jumped to 23% market share in the self-service category, which includes drugstores and general-merchandise stores, and met its yearly sales goal within six weeks, the company said, without releasing specifics.
Last year, Park Hotel Tokyo was the site of a limited-time- only Hotel Majorca room, hand-decorated by the brand's creative staff to bring their web stories to life. Guests could also play with the full display of Majolica Majorca cosmetics in the room. The promotion was extended for three weeks after its original three-month run, and this year's event—upgraded to a suite and priced at $615 a night -- sold out within minutes.
Majolica Majorca does not work with an ad agency and all marketing is produced in-house.
"We want to have direct communication ... only what we truly want to go out into the marketplace," Mr. Shimizu said.