The virtual platform lets P&G "bring the beauty expertise of the Max Factor brand directly to the consumer and engage with them in an innovative and insightful way," said Fabio Stefani, director of the Max Factor brand in Greater China.
P&G bought Max Factor in 1991, but most U.S. stores stopped carrying it years ago, prompting P&G to discontinue the brand in the U.S. in June 2009. Max Factor is still available in 70 countries, including many Asian markets, where products like Max Factor mascara and lipstick remain popular.
The Makeover Studio technology, which lets women virtually try on cosmetics and styling products, was introduced last month on Abang.com, the Chinese-language version of the lifestyle content publisher About.com, part of The New York Times Company.
Chinese women can create personal looks based on their own photograph or those of professional models, using a content library with hundreds of hairstyles and all the Max Factor products sold in China. Users can sample different makeover styles and create new looks, while gathering advice from the site's cosmetics experts.
The looks can then be saved and shared on the contest website, mojing.abang.com/beauty.
Max Factor owns the technology during the launch period from mid-June until early September, said Matt Roberts, About.com's general manager, China in Beijing. "It's hard to find brands willing to go out on a limb to try something new."
About.com launched the technology last month with a contest sponsored by Max Factor and the premium hair salon Tony Studio. Users of the virtual tool can submit their own makeover looks to a panel of celebrity stylists from Tony Studio.
Twenty lucky draw winners each week receive cosmetics products from Max Factor and SaSa.com. Three Tony Studio judges and online voters will also pick winners.
Max Factor is "the make-up of make-up artists," said Vivian Lee, senior brand manager for Olay, Max Factor, and Camay at P&G's beauty and grooming division in China.
"We want to provide tips and products to Chinese consumers. When we learned about this technology, we wanted to cooperate with About.com to launch a make-up contest online."
P&G is promoting the contest on its Chinese-language Max Factor website as well as through active cosmetics bloggers in China who are regularly sent products and information by P&G.
"We have good relationships with many bloggers in China," Ms. Lee said. "Winning digital is a core marketing focus. It's critical for P&G here and we will increase our investment in capability building and cooperation with social media and online media."
This summer's contest on About.com in China follows a "Maxgazine" website developed by P&G last fall. P&G seeds Max Factor brand updates on cosmetic-specific bulletin board sites and the brand is sold through P&G's e-commerce micro-site on Taobao, part of Alibaba Group.
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