Almost 5,000 teenage girls signed up for an essay video contest branded by Skintimate Signature Scents, a line of moisturizing shave gels with flirty scents like Luscious Kiwi Splash and Raspberry Rain. The the hook was intriguing: the chance to become a member of one of two crews of nine girls to be flown to Hollywood to produce a film and edit a short movie. But even if the prize was tantalizing, Skintimate still got its message across throughout the process to thousands of girls ages 13 to 18—a critical and impressionable age for brands to make their mark and start the conversation to earn long-time customers.
The 18 winners worked with Hollywood director Gail Mancuso to develop a cast, work with props, and shoot and edit the production in an intense one-week program. The teams each made two short films and used their social networks to market the movies, which brought in more leads. They also designed official “crew” T-shirts and composed movie soundtracks. During the contest, the Skintimate Facebook fan base rose from 300 to more than 20,000.
“The entire lead generation and voting was first and foremost driven by the contestants themselves,” says Michael Schneidman, vice president and group director at Ryan Partnership. “These kids not only promoted it through their own social channels, but they held rallies in their own schools and took out ads in their hometown papers. In addition, we had the branded paid media and sponsorships to drive the vote. So all of that combined brought in the 220,000 votes. The real magic in this was the viral and social aspect driven by the teams themselves. Votes came in with no incentives.”
A nationwide online vote determined the winning film. In addition to the more than 220,000 votes, the site drew in over 700,000 visits and more than 1.5 million page views. The winning team appeared at a New York Red Carpet premiere, and each crew member took home a $500 scholarship. An after party was held where celebrity DJs and gift bags helped celebrate the winning film and Skintimate Studios.
“We now have this database of consumers to reach out to for participation and driving the brand message in future programs,” Schneidman says.
The call for entries arrived through online virtual screening rooms, avatars, public relations, advertorials, site takeovers and social platforms. Skintimate, already the No. 1 brand in the shave prep category, grew marketing share roughly 15% during the promotion.
“The brand saw a great deal of growth, and there was significant lift in brand health measures like awareness and equity and purchase intent,” Schneidman says. “All of those key measures, which were objectives, came through with flying colors.”
The second version of the contest just wrapped, and “Skintimate Studios 3” begins in the spring.
“The success of the first year taught us something and the brand has adopted it as a much broader communication platform,” Schneidman says.