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#10.Dr. Comenge's Mona Lisa Makeover Campaign

MarketingSherpa Summary:
More consumer packaged goods firms should think outside of the online ad box. (Hello, we're all bored to death of same-old, same-old sweeps campaigns.) This launch campaign for a new line of women's skincare products will make your mouse-finger itch to play with it. More than two million visitors have played with the viral app so far, and helped propel the brand onto retail shelves at Sephora, Nordstroms and Saks.

Agency - Pod Design
Client/company - Alternasfera
Brand campaign was conducted for - Dr. Comenge
Launch date of campaign - May 2003
Target audience/demographic - Women 35-50

Campaign Goal:
The primary goal for the Mona Lisa Makeover campaign was to generate consumer awareness and media buzz around the launch of a new line of Doctor branded skin care products. As an unknown brand competing in the high-end skincare category, it is difficult to generate PR, and the major brands spend an enormous amount of money on advertising, making it difficult for a start-up brand to compete for consumer awarness. It was decided that a well-targeted viral campaign would work well for the launch of the brand if it appealed to the interests of the target demo, and found a way generate publicity.

The creative strategy of the campaign was to look at issues concerning skin care, health and beauty that had become "hot issues" in the media, and build those ideas into the campaign. At the time, there was a lot of buzz inthe media surrounding the dangers of Botox, Botox parties, celebrities that had too much plastic surgery, and a wave of reality television extreme makeover shows were being developed. The Dr. Comenge product line and positioning were based on the idea the through the latest advances in biotechnology, the product line would make your skin look and feel its best, and years younger. Our target audience was women (and men) who would not be interested in taking drastic and invasive procedures like skin peels, botox, plastic surgery and Collogen injections. Inspired by news reports that the Mona Lisa was turing 500 years old, sagging on it's canvas, and badly in need of restoration, we created the Mona Lisa Makeover, an entertaining web toy. It allowed users to try those invasive techniques on the classic beauty of the Mona Lisa, see how they distort her features, and how she loses the essense of herself. Users can give Mona collagen injections to puff up her lips, strange eyes with Botox, a ridiculous boob job, and a skin peel that would impress even Micheal Jackson. The Dr. Comenge products are promoted as the better solution for enhancing your natural beauty, with links to see the products at Apothia is an LA based boutique in the legendary Fred Segal stores in Hollywood, a favorite of celebrities and trendsetters.

Seed Strategy:
The campaign was initially sent to a list of 300 journalists, and the mailing list of Apothia's customers, in one of their regular newsletters. It was also submitted as a link to targeted and relevant blogs and sites, such as "".

Buzz Generated:
The campaigns viral effects started off slow at first, but then ramped up quickly once it entered the blogsphere. As was hoped, the link became popular for bloggers to provide a link to, along with thier own wry comment on the results of Botox, plastic surgery, or a particular celebrity who has caught their attention as having had some work done. Blogs also mentioned the promotion in two other contexts: The launch of the film Mona Lisa Smile starring Julia Roberts, and news reports of the Mona Lisa's restoration. Soon after launch, Mona featured in dozens of blogs around the world, and was featured on the home page of Terra-Lycos. A technology reporter for NBC had the link sent to him from a number of his freinds, and decided to film a segment on it for his nationally syndicated technology report on NBC (he was not on our initial press mailing) His report was sent to 40 NBC affiliate news stations and run on the air in most major and minor markets across the US. After seeing the segment, A Philadelphia NBC affiliate featured Dr. Comenge live in the studio on their prime time broadcast, his first television appearance about the brand. MSNBC mentioned Mona Makeover on their internet report, and provided a link to it on the website, and many beauty and health websites and and magazines wrote stories and provided links to the website.

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
The campaign took a month before it gained momentum in the blogs, and traffic peaked at 20-30,000 visitors a day for a month when the promotion was featured on NBC, and Terra-Lycos. Though no additional promotion or seeding was done after the initial launch, the campaign continues to generate thousands of visitors daily, almost 2 years later. Over two million visitors have played since launch, and although it is not a requirement to play, over 5000 visitors have completed a registration form signing up for more information about Dr. Comenge products. The press coverage that the promotion received helped the brand sell into top retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, and incredible feat for a new, upstart brand. Figures are not available as to how many customers may have purchased the product through and as a direct result of the campaign.

Biggest Learning:
In the past, we used traditional jounalists and PR efforts and the focus of our initial emails and follow up efforts. This campaign proved to us that if you focus on the blogs first, make it viral first and build a phenomenom, traditional media can follow. The biggest results we gained traditional media came from building consumer interest and buzz first, not the results of approaching journalists through a traditional press release. What surpised us about the campaign is it's longevity. The campaign was designed for the short term goals of building buzz, and getting press coverage. It surpassed these goals in every way, and had we anticipated its longevity, we might have built it to be more sophisticated in its direct sales and tracking capabilities. Since the promotion was created in the early stages of launching the product line, the Mona Lisa Makover is no longer "on brand" matching the sopisticated sensibilities and high-end image of the brand.Instead of retrofitting the campaign with the newer positioning, and deeper selling and tracking capabilities, the efforts are being put towards a follow-up campaign that reflects a more direct connection with the current positioning of the brand and direct selling capabilities.

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