April 21, 2016
Case Study

B2C Marketing: Beauty brand increases campaign website visitors 9,900% encouraging customers to ‘sleep naked'

SUMMARY: With a cheeky campaign called "Sleep Naked," U.S. Cotton brand Swisspers encouraged customers to remove their makeup and share a "Naked Selfie" on social media platforms. It did this by engaging beauty bloggers, a sweepstakes, social media events and even a live celebrity event.

With over 53,000 campaign website visitors, the annual campaign that first began in 2012 saw a 9,900% increase over the previous year. Read on to learn how this B2C company increased website visitors and social shares.
by Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor


U.S. Cotton supplies 90% of makeup remover pads, or cotton rounds, in the United States, manufacturing almost all store brands. Swisspers, however, is U.S. Cotton's own line of cotton-based products designed for skin cleansing, and the marketing team wanted customers to focus on the Swisspers brand.

A campaign was designed to encourage Swisspers' key demographic — health-conscious women ages 18 to 35 — to "Sleep Naked" by washing their skin before bed.


Makeup remover pads are a product people don't think about a lot – it's almost as if they just show up magically in bathrooms across the United States. So how do you get people not only thinking but also talking about such a product?

The "Sleep Naked" campaign's objective was to be a talking point among ideal customers. The idea gained traction as celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lawrence began to participate in "naked" selfies with no makeup on.

"Everyone thinks of these starlets as … flawless, but they're just people. Everyone has faults. So it was just driving that home, and making people feel comfortable in their own skin," said Andrew York, Product Manager, U.S. Cotton.

The initial traction with the campaign showed that the topic of skin care was valuable to the Swisspers audience, if presented in the right way. The marketing team wanted to be entertaining, while not jeopardizing Sleep Naked brand equity.

"One of the challenges was how to create a succinct and direct campaign that would really pique their interest. Consumers have such short attention spans now, so we really wanted to generate something that had a little bit of a sex appeal but made you think twice after you realized what it really was," he said.

That's when the team came up with the taglines "Practice Safe Sleep" and "Sleep Naked" for the campaign.


The brand wanted to create a fun, party-like atmosphere online, and carry that over to a culminating physical event. This long-running campaign began in 2012, so there is a dedicated page for customers to visit.

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The "Sleep Naked" campaign took the idea of "naked selfies" and brought in nine online beauty influencers, alongside a sweepstakes and a live event where women removed their makeup with the Swisspers products and took a naked selfie.

Step #1. Work with bloggers

The Swisspers marketing team wanted to start off by generating buzz through notable beauty bloggers, and began setting up a framework.

"Obviously I feel like consumers know when someone's a fake, when someone is just phoning it in," York said.

The team wanted to ensure that bloggers could honestly endorse the product, so they sent samples for them to try.

"We really wanted it to feel natural and just have that natural conversation with their followers," he said.

While the first goal was keeping the conversation natural, York added that bloggers did have a loose framework to ensure that content would be targeted and funnel readers toward the campaign itself.

"We wanted it to be an open framework, but we gave them certain things that we [wanted] them to say in their content," he said.

For instance, when promoting the product on their own social media posts, beauty bloggers would use the hashtags #SleepNaked and #PracticeSafeSleep.

View the Creative Sample

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Alongside their own Naked Selfies, the bloggers could take pictures of a new element of the campaign – the product sample sent to them. It was designed as a faux condom pack that contained two Swisspers exfoliating cotton rounds, to serve as entertaining social content for bloggers and customers.

A video was also created to promote the campaign with beauty vlogger Nikki Phillippi to demonstrate one of the benefits of sleeping "naked," which is preventing skin damage and premature aging.

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Utilize paid ads on social media

Also in the social sphere, this campaign utilized paid ads on Twitter and Instagram alongside the brand's own accounts.

"Especially for the beauty category, I think Instagram plays a key role just because of the amount of beauty bloggers that are out right now. I think it's really important to target Instagram in our future paid advertisements as well," York said.

Step #2. Hype up campaign with social media events

To play into the party atmosphere the team wanted for the "Sleep Naked" campaign, a tweet-a-thon was launched where, over the course of three hours, customers could engage with the beauty bloggers over Twitter.

Beauty bloggers would write up posts and promote on social media ahead of time, encouraging their followers to participate and letting them know that they would be doing so as well.

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Additionally, a Sleep Naked selfie sweepstakes was rolled out, which encouraged customers to take their own naked selfies. It ran for several months as customers voted, and the winner was rewarded with a $1,000 Visa gift card.

Step #3. Tie in physical event with a social media sweepstakes

The campaign led up to the National Sleep Naked Night live event in California. Women removed their makeup to take (and share socially) a "naked selfie" with Scheana Shay, beauty guru and star of the reality show Vanderpump Rules.

The event was promoted by the previous social events and on branded social media, but on the day of the event, Swisspers had a brand ambassador team passing out samples and generating buzz in the general vicinity of the event.

"We had a meet-and-greet, six-hour event, four hours of sampling, two-hour selfie station with Scheana. She was kind of the brand ambassador for us for the day," York said.

The team had stations set up where people could remove their makeup with Swisspers branded "Practice Safe Sleep" faux condom packs.

View the Creative Sample

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From there, they were able to meet Scheana Shay, take a naked selfie with her against a branded background and then, hopefully, they would share across social media using the official hashtags.

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Scheana Shay was interviewed for a video about the event that was posted afterward, alongside a photo album.

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She also shared a picture of herself with Swisspers' customers at the event to her personal Instagram, which got around 2,800 likes and 22 comments.

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"This is [the] fourth or fifth year that we've done this. Like anything else, you have takeaways from each of the endeavors. The way that I see it … engaging socially and keeping that content flowing continuously is key," York said.

It's also important, he added, to have a long-term social media outlook that will last throughout the year, versus a short-term plan that will burn customers out.

Swisspers was able to garner the follow results from this effort:
  • 25.3 million impressions – up over 30% (6 million) from previous year

  • Over 53,000 campaign website visitors – a 9,900% increase over 2014

  • More than 5,000 mentions and 300,000 social actions

Since the first iteration of this campaign in 2012, premium cotton round sales are up 27%.

When collecting user-generated content in a campaign such as this, York said, "It's always good to get … perspective on the product outside of the walls of the office. There are obviously biases when it's your product. It's good to have your ideas reinforced by your consumers."

Creative Samples

  1. Campaign website

  2. Blogger product Instagram

  3. Promotional Video

  4. Blogger social media event Instagram

  5. Event picture

  6. Customer event selfie

  7. Event video

  8. Scheana Shay Instagram post


Related Resources

Content Marketing: How to use social media sweepstakes to encourage user-generated content [From MarketingSherpa Blog]

Content Marketing: User-generated content tips from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia [From MarketingSherpa Blog]

Email Marketing: User-generated content helps drive 16% clickthrough rate

Social Media Marketing: 7 steps for using contests and sweepstakes to promote your brand [From MarketingSherpa Blog]

Social Media Marketing: Sporting goods company increases Facebook reach 366% with content contest

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