Maybelline: The Maybelline Snapchat Hack

Campaign Summary

Young Singaporeans love taking selfies on Snapchat — and they especially love the soft, velvet matte effect that the app’s filters give them. Using a fresh take on beauty-related social videos, Maybelline tapped into this obsession with Snapchat selfies and positioned its new foundation as a “real life” Snapchat filter. It achieved phenomenal reach, engagement, and shares on social media.


Objective and Context:

Singapore is known for being a small, savvy market of consumers who are difficult to engage, especially when it comes to beauty marketing. In addition, in the heavily saturated foundation category, new product launches happen regularly. Maybelline’s challenge was to promote its new Dream Velvet Foundation in a way that resonated with consumers while also standing out from the competition. The brand had to raise awareness, drive consideration for purchase, and increase sales.

Target Audience:

Singaporean women aged 15 to 25 years are curious, adventurous, and open to trying new cosmetic products. However, these digitally-savvy young women are by no means an easy target. They are skeptical about brands and would much rather turn to beauty influencers, whom they regard as relatable and trustworthy sources. Their consumption of beauty content is often mobile-first, with 70 percent of them indicating that they browse social media via their smartphones. Their purchase decisions are heavily influenced by their browsing behavior on mobile, especially if they happen upon a product that their favorite beauty influencers recommend.

Creative Strategy:

Being highly distrustful of conventional beauty advertising, Maybelline’s target audience was quick to express skepticism toward foundation ads that flaunted “studio-perfect” shots of models. After chatting with them, Maybelline uncovered their love for taking and sharing selfies on social media, most of which were taken on Snapchat, using the platform’s iconic “Puppy” and “Flower Crown” filters. Probing deeper, the brand found that their obsession with taking selfies on the platform was rooted in the filters’ subtle beautification effects that enabled them to instantly achieve a natural-looking, velvety, soft-matte flawless complexion — similar to that of Maybelline’s Dream Velvet Foundation. This sparked the big campaign idea: Maybelline’s new Dream Velvet Foundation gives you selfie-ready skin in real life, empowering women to “Be Your Own Filter.”


Overall Campaign Execution:

Given the campaign’s small production budget, there was no way Maybelline could custom-create a Snapchat filter for the promotion of the product. Instead, it “hacked” the Snapchat format by physically recreating the platform’s iconic “Flower Crown” filter in 3D form, blurring the lines between virtual and reality.

The campaign used Facebook and Instagram as the key channels for execution. Given its audience’s high affinity for authentic content, Maybelline reached out to up-and-coming local influencer duo Youtiao666 to launch the campaign. The people behind Youtiao666 are especially popular among young Singaporean women due to their humorous and quirky personalities. The girls also regularly post their own Snapchat selfies and other fun, original, bite-sized content on their Instagram account, which made them the ideal ambassadors for the campaign.

Maybelline launched the “Be Your Own Filter” campaign on Facebook and Instagram with a provocative video teaser that mimicked a Snapchat video, featuring Youtiao666 wearing the filter cut-outs with Snapchat’s #nofilter caption bar across the screen. Then, at the end of the video, they disclosed that no actual Snapchat beautifying filters had been used. Following this, Maybelline revealed a “behind-the-scenes” time lapse video showing the two girls putting on Maybelline’s Dream Velvet Foundation, driving home the message that the only “filter” needed for a flawless, Snapchat-filtered complexion was the product.

Mobile Execution:

Since the “Be Your Own Filter” campaign was centered on hacking the short-form Snapchat video format, Maybelline focused most of its efforts on the mobile experience. All content ultimately directed audiences to Maybelline Singapore’s mobile-optimized website, where consumers could learn more about the product.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Maybelline demonstrated success by reaching over one million unique visitors, achieving more than 5.8 million impressions, and garnering approximately 280,000 completed video views. In addition, the brand resonated so strongly with audiences that it achieved an overall engagement rate of 14.3 percent, delivered a video engagement rate of 29.2 percent on all campaign videos, and drove 134,000 clicks to the website and Facebook page. Finally, the campaign proved that amazing content has the power to drive sales by exceeding the sales target by 130 percent.

Based on Maybelline’s internal data, the “Be Your Own Filter” campaign had a significant impact in lifting the brand’s overall market share within the foundations category. During the campaign, Maybelline saw a 156 percent lift in market share and rose from No. 3 to No. 1 in overall foundation product sales among mass-market cosmetic brands in Singapore. The campaign also affected overall brand awareness for Maybelline within the foundation category. Compared to key competitors, Maybelline saw an increase in overall conversation volumes, as well as an increase in share of voice by 163 percent.

Categories: Mobile Native | Industries: Health & Beauty | Objectives: Mobile Native | Awards: Gold Winner