1. The beautiful book
On the reflective silver cover, two embossed words shimmer enticingly in the light: MIRACLE CUSHION. Echoing the product’s own smooth metallic case, the Miracle Cushion press book wouldn’t look out of place on the coffee table of a chic Parisian apartment. In fact, it would look right at home.
“We wanted to create something that could be instantly linked with the product,” explains Samantha from Lancôme’s International PR team. “We also wanted it to capture something of the lifestyle that Miracle Cushion represents.”
Inside, clean, crisp images gradually reveal the secrets of this innovation in foundation: curiosity-piquing close-ups and poetic compositions are interspersed with razor-sharp cutaways and laser-precise diagrams. We are somewhere between contemporary design and contemporary art.
As for the text, it treads a fine line between aspirational and factual. As Samantha explains: “In PR, we come at things with a slightly different perspective: our goal is to ensure that journalists really understand what is new about a product. With Miracle Cushion we had two key messages to get across: firstly that it is a real innovation in foundation, an Asian concept that Lancôme is the first Western brand to launch internationally. Secondly, we had to explain just what makes it so innovative. It wasn’t just about saying that Miracle Cushion was the best product ever — it was about saying why it was the best, because ultimately, as with any launch, we wanted the journalists to trust us and want to talk about the product.”
Once created, the press book was sent out to countries where PR Managers could share it with their network of influencers. But one press book does not a PR plan make…
2. The amazing event
“The book was ready a few months before the launch in order to give journalists the time to get to know Miracle Cushion before it hit the stores. Then, to keep the product at the forefront of their mind, we organised a press day.”
The concept was to reproduce the lifestyle aspect of the product and the brand. So instead of a big press conference, Samantha and her team organised an event in a Parisian apartment with décor inspired by Miracle Cushion.
“The ambience was more like a tea party with friends”
“The ambience was more like a tea party with friends. Over time, we have forged relationships with journalists. One of our make-up artists was there to tell them about the product, answer their questions and even apply the products for them.”
What better way to get journalists to believe in and want to talk about a new product than by showing them? But any journalist who is worth their salt is bound to have questions and it’s PR’s task to answer them. To make sure they were ready, Samantha and her team set about creating a crib sheet…“We put together a huge Q&A that gave details on everything about the product from the formula to the packaging and the trends that inspired it.”
The team also drafted a master interview with Aline, Lancôme’s Marketing Director in Asia, who knew the product inside out, offering journalists an even deeper insight into Miracle Cushion.
3. Close cooperation
In every launch, coherence across all platforms and functions is key and for Samantha Miracle Cushion was the perfect example: “We met regularly with the different departments involved, in the beginning perhaps once a month, but towards the launch we saw each other every day. We worked closely with the Merchandising and Digital teams in particular. The key is to make sure that the product is seen by everyone with the same eyes to ensure a coherent image.”
The international team also worked closely with local PR teams whose involvement was indispensable to the launch’s success: “Take for example the PR launch: we invited about 150 people from all over the world. But then back in the countries they can launch it locally and have a much bigger impact in their markets. Italy, for example, organised an event for 60 journalists in Milan.”
4. Passion for the product
If you’re going to convince journalists, you need to be convinced yourself. Finding what really stands out about the product for you is an ideal starting point. With Miracle Cushion, Samantha’s passion was clear: “The content! Because it was something really new for us. It’s a Korean beauty trend so I discovered a lot about South Korean trends, women in Korea and how beauty is important for them. Discovering all these sociological aspects was really thought-provoking, so I was really interested in developing the content!”