The message of a company is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Without the right message to connect customers to your brand, product or company, you risk missing the chance of connecting to a lifelong customer.
All companies, big or small, need their own unique message to connect with people in their marketing. In this article, we’ll be taking a look into two wild successes from very different industries. Grab a brush and a beer—we’ll see you in the 90s.
Maybe It’s Maybelline Marketing Message
Maybelline, the mega cosmetic brand, catapulted their company to the front and center of the cosmetics market with their 1990 “Maybe she’s born with it…Maybe it’s Maybelline” campaign. Today, Maybelline is the world’s leading cosmetics brand due to its strategic pivot with this infamous campaign and largely contributes to L’Oréal’s staggering yearly sales of ~$34.5 billion. (https://www.loreal-finance.com/en/annual-report-2019/loreal-figures-2-2-0/)
How did they become successful?
Before the popular campaign, “Maybe she’s born with it…Maybe it’s Maybelline”, the company’s campaigns were focused around the tagline “Fine makeup, sensibly priced.” This new campaign used models that were recognizable to everyone, such as Christy Turlington who was a rising model at the time.
Using prominent faces allowed the Maybelline brand to create strong connections with their audience by suggesting that those supermodels achieved such a grand look by simply using Maybelline’s makeup. They were no longer just offering an affordable line of makeup, but makeup that known supermodels used while still being affordable and it was a recipe for success. Maybelline has continued this practice in their company recently signing model Gigi Hadid in 2015 and model Herieth Paul in 2016.
A company that has also utilized this strategy is Dior, the French luxury goods company. They have used Charlize Theron in all J’adore perfume commercials and advertising for years. Why? People associate her beauty, elegance, and sex appeal to the J’adore perfume and Dior brand and if she uses those products, they must be great.
What else did they change about their original approach?
Maybelline revamped all aspects of their strategy to include popular 1990’s elements. The brand added new music to videos that were trending at the time. The graphics used were upgraded with the technology available which gave a more modern look to their ads and commercials. Adding a sassy voice saying phrases such as “Yeah, right” showed more personality from Maybelline. All of these updates allowed Maybelline to be more desired by its target audience.
Robert N. Hiatt, a former Maybelline president, stated a reason for this campaign was to “fundamentally change the way the customer thinks about Maybelline.” It’s safe to say they achieved this goal. Maybelline’s new focus was making women feel empowered and naturally sexy when they wear their products, just like their supermodels. They took their new campaign to magazines and then rolled out commercials on television, spending over $50 million on advertising. During this time the company also re-branded its products’ packaging to match new contemporary ads. These ads showed women being proud to grab a Maybelline product out of their purse. This idea reinforces the strategy of focusing more on how Maybelline’s products make women feel vs just advertising the product itself. Maybelline became part of their desired customer’s lifestyle and lifelong customers were born.
Michelob ULTRA Marketing Message
Michelob ULTRA has secured its spot as the third-largest beer brand in the United States. That is no easy feat and it has everything to do with how they have marketed their product. Their marketing strategy targets individuals who lead an active lifestyle, but still want to enjoy themselves. Michelob Ultra promotes fewer carbs and fewer calories than their competitors and that is a win in the eyes of their health-conscious demographic. Their brilliant marketing message has allowed them to become one of the fastest-growing beer brands in the U.S.
How did they become successful?
In the early 2000s, the Atkins low carb diet exploded in the United States. People were eating carb focused diets and the food industry felt a surge in marketing towards low carb. In 2004, Anheuser-Busch launched Michelob ULTRA with a strategy focused on low carb, low-calorie beer perfect for after any activity. At the time, this was the first beer company to use wellness as a strategic focal point. They were definitely onto something.
Anheuser-Busch highlighted that they had only 2.6 grams of carbs and 95 calories in one Michelob ULTRA beer. Their ads promoted drinking a Michelob ULTRA while doing a physical activity such as biking, golfing, kayaking or running. Pairing those ads and commercials with the slogan “Live Life to the ULTRA” connected their consumers to an active lifestyle and created a strong brand identity. Michelob ULTRA has continually grown over the years using their position in the market with health-focused customers running different wellness campaigns.
What are they doing now?
The beer brewing powerhouse launched a fully integrated “Do it for the Cheers” campaign in 2020. The fully integrated campaign was left open on purpose so the brand could create new fun ways to stay fit. As 2020 progressed, the year took a turn that affected everyone. The spread of COVID-19 to communities and families across the world halted almost everything. Similarly to Maybelline, Michelob ULTRA had to find their voice in a new era of marketing.
Social media became quickly flooded with brands and companies wanting to grab attention while more people were surfing their phones at home. To shine through all of the noise on social media, Michelob ULTRA flawlessly changed directions from their “Do it for the Cheers” campaign to a new campaign.
A digital beer revolution.
A new campaign called “Movement Live” was launched to encourage customers to join a weekly live workout from their home for free. Michelob ULTRA partnered with different companies to donate money to local gyms and fitness studios in different communities on every live workout video. These donations are meant to give back to the many places that had to close their doors during the spread of COVID-19, but it also furthers Michelob ULTRA’s foothold in the health and fitness community. Although this campaign is still unfolding as the year progresses, Michelob ULTRA has successfully kept its customers engaged with their brand strategy in the wellness category.
If you made it all the way to the end of this article, you now know how powerful a strong brand strategy and marketing message can be for successfully connecting to a target demographic. Another key item in marketing your business is creating a brand for the world to see. If you want to learn more about that process, check out this article.