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Ulta reaps the benefits of brows and selfies

Makeup brand Benefit Cosmetics is partnering with beauty retailer Ulta in a social media contest on Instagram where users share photos of their brows for a chance to win products, leveraging consumers? love of selfies and the current interest in eyebrow shaping. 

The brand is encouraging users to share a selfie after a visit with an arch expert at a local Ulta store, where the expert grooms the customer?s brows. The customer shares the photo on Instagram, tagging both Benefit and Ulta with the hashtag #browbestie, for a chance to win a year?s worth of brow, in a strategy that promotes the Benefit brow collection and a category of products that is currently in high-demand.  

"There are over 23,000 likes on one benefit cosmetics Instagram post, along with over 300 comments to the request of 'Don't forget to tell us your ULTA location,' with this lift on just one Instagram post regarding the contest it looks like both Benefit Cosmetics and ULTA will see great results from this campaign," said Marci Trourtman, CEO of SiteMinis. "Kudos to the creators of this campaign in ensuring with each selfie entered to the contest, the brand and ULTA location have to be tagged for the contestant to be able to win the prize.  

"The tagging portion greatly enhances the opportunity for this to become a viral campaign," she said. "Contests are easier to implement, analyze and gain traction through mobile and social media, than they are through more traditional marketing campaigns. 

"The instant benefits of like or dislike are almost immediate if presented to the right demographic. Utilizing mobile and social media for A/B testing contests can be extremely effective with small focus groups to gauge the likelihood of a campaign going viral, and the success rate.  


Selfie to stay
According to a study by 48 Suite Analytics, the selfie is showing no signs of slowing and is an ideal tool to grab the attention of all consumers, not solely millennials. It has spread to a mainstream phenomenon, with roughly 84 percent of smartphones users who participated in the study taking at least one selfie within 30 days. 

Benefit and Ulta are keen to use buzzworthy topics such as selfies and brows, because this can quickly draw in the consumer. Then the promise of a prize with a contest that users would likely want to be apart of keeps them engaged. 

As Ulta sells Benefit products and the arch experts are located at Ulta stores this makes sense for both brands. 

In order to enter into the contest, entries must participate in the in-store service, which drives sales of the service and Ulta and Benefit products. 
Benefit Cosmetics calls users to enter their brow contest through Instagram

Foraying into eyebrow products, campaigns and contests also secures both brands? image as on-trend because this is currently a popular topic in the beauty world. To ignore this trend could be detrimental to a beauty brand. 

Benefit is advertising the contest through Instagram with a before, during and after video of a brow expert working on a customer?s brows. The post also encourages users to feature the location of their local Ulta store and the name of the arch expert who assisted them. 

Summer selfies
The brand-fueled selfie contest is likely here to stay if consumers are not kicking selfies to the curb any time soon. Especially with the summer season, brands are gearing up their selfie campaigns. 

For example Macy?s is kicked off its American Icons summer campaign with a selfie push on social media as it seeks to embody the easygoing, fun-loving lifestyle of the warmer months while cementing its all-American image (see more). 

Also, American Eagle Outfitters lingerie brand Aerie launched its Love Your Selfie campaign complete with a hashtag and the world?s largest un-retouched selfie (see more). 

"This type of contest, where products that are marketed are also a part of the prize can be an overall win for brands," Ms. Troutman said. "The consumers share selfies and tag the brands, thus marketing to their friends on social is a big win; and to top off the big win, the contestant that is chosen wins the product that is being promoted and in turn discusses and shares how effective the product is for yet another opportunity to go viral."

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant Mobile Marketer