SINGAPORE. Spreading joy and happiness in Asia Pacific – towards a better future. That’s the dual message from L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific General Manager of Kiehl’s Petrina Kho following the launch of the skincare brand’s blockbuster Lunar New Year campaign at Singapore Changi Airport last week.
As reported, L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific has partnered The Shilla Duty Free and Changi Airport Group to unveil a Lunar New Year pop-up for Kiehl’s in an exclusive ‘Changi First’ collaboration.
At the heart of the pop-up is an artist collaboration with illustrator Jonny Wan, who worked with Kiehl’s to design the brand’s first Lunar New Year collection. Born in Sheffield, UK, and a graduate of the Manchester School of Art, Wan has created an Art Deco-inspired concept centred on Lucky the Pig – the zodiac symbol for 2019 – and his voyage from New York to Asia.
Located at Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 Departure Transit Hall, the immersive pop-up will run throughout the festive season until 28 February.
Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, Ms Kho said that Kiehl’s has “always admired” Jonny Wan’s “bold and diverse” artistic style.
“His style goes perfectly well with the festive and joyful Lunar New Year traditions, and Lucky the Pig is also a perfect fit with our aim to spread joy and happiness during the holidays. In Chinese culture, we always say, ‘With the New Year comes a new outlook’; Jonny has also helped our iconic Kiehl’s products put on new ‘clothes’ by depicting his artwork on the packaging, available only during Lunar New Year.”
She added: “We want to celebrate Lunar New Year with travellers through Kiehl’s 165+ years of brand heritage. It feels natural to tie the link between New York City – where our headquarters is – with Asia. That is how we came up with the concept and theme of bringing travellers on a special voyage from New York to Asia.”
The activation marks the first time Kiehl’s has launched a Lunar New Year pop-up with The Shilla Duty Free at Changi Airport, Kho noted.
“Our team at Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific together with The Shilla Duty Free Singapore are experts in understanding Chinese consumers’ behaviours. This Lunar New Year event is a perfect example of how we integrate Asia-specific elements into our bestselling franchise, and with the collaboration of Shilla, this will help us to reach new and existing consumers who are travelling during the festive season.
“We both share the same vision to elevate customer shopping experience, and the reception of the pop-up store confirms that we are headed in the right direction.”
Kho underlined the brand’s longstanding commitment to supporting the local communities where it has a presence. In line with this, Kiehl’s has struck up a partnership with Zero Waste Singapore, a non-profit and non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to helping Singapore eliminate the concept of waste.
“Singapore is a market with sophisticated customers and has always been one of the top tourist destinations. At Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific, we are always optimistic about Singapore hence our partnership with Changi Airport and Zero Waste Singapore.
“Kiehl’s has always been dedicated to using more sustainably sourced and naturally derived ingredients, using responsible packaging and manufacturing, and lending a hand to community causes. We are delighted that Singapore Changi Airport and Zero Waste Singapore also share our beliefs. We will donate S$1 for each purchase at the pop-up to Zero Waste Singapore to help reduce, reuse, and recycle in Singapore for a cleaner and better future.”
The partnership will benefit Zero Waste Singapore’s ‘Buy Your Own Bag’ (BYOB) programme, which aims to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable shopping bags and build a social norm for using them through education.
“In line with Kiehl’s longstanding mission, this will help to minimise packaging and reduce plastic waste,” she said.
The collaboration with Zero Waste Singapore is just one of many corporate social responsibility initiatives supported by Kiehl’s, Kho noted.
“Globally, Kiehl’s partners with multiple NGOs to support community causes, with a focus on children’s well-being, environmental awareness and HIV/AIDS research,” she said. “In Asia Pacific travel retail, we have also collaborated with organisations such as the Singapore Environment Council; and, just days before our Lunar New Year pop-up at Changi Airport, our team visited an orphanage in Vietnam as part of our team-building activity.”
Looking back on 2018, Kho said the brand is “very pleased” with its performance in Asia Pacific travel retail: “The surge in travellers within the region has contributed to the growth along with strong product innovation and marketing campaigns that keep our consumers engaged and loyal to Kiehl’s.”
One of the key highlights for 2019 is the launch of the new Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream in March, featuring an “ultra clean formula” that removes parabens, Kho revealed. “Without compromising the experience and performance via the removal of parabens, the new Ultra Facial Cream comes with stronger and proven efficacy that helps your skin become 1.7 times more hydrated.”
Commenting on the outlook for the brand in 2019, Kho said: “Kiehl’s is an amazing brand with more than 165 years of heritage. To further accelerate our growth in Travel Retail Asia Pacific, we will continue to uphold the authenticity of Kiehl’s by bringing great products to our consumers with a balance of nature, science and great service at all our counters.”
As reported, Jonny Wan was present at the grand opening* of the pop-up, which was officially launched last weekend on 26 January.
Speaking at the ceremony, Wan said: “Even though I was born in the UK, the Lunar New Year is a special time when millions of people travel across the world back to Asia to celebrate with friends and family – and this is where my inspiration came from. So in 2019, we follow our little pig Lucky and his journey from the home of Kiehl’s in New York City back to Asia to celebrate with loved ones.”
Wan’s graphic illustrations are featured on limited-edition packaging for a range of bestselling Kiehl’s products. These include the Ultra Facial Cream, Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner and Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, which also come in a set that is exclusive to travel retail. In addition, his designs appear on GWPs including drawstring bags, pouches, gift boxes and tote bags.
Wan’s eye-catching concept runs throughout the Changi pop-up, which is dressed in an auspicious red with a distinct Sense of Place. The space features iconic landmarks in New York and Singapore, such as the original Kiehl’s apothecary in New York’s East Village neighbourhood, the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as Singapore’s Merlion, Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Gardens by the Bay.
Wan told The Moodie Davitt Report that the collaboration with Kiehl’s was “quite a natural occurrence” as he has been a fan of the brand since he graduated from university in 2008.
“I’ve always really liked the way Kiehl’s does things a bit differently,” he said. “Kiehl’s is very supportive of the artists that have come before me, and the most important thing is that they seem to let their artists have free reign when it comes to design.
“There are some brands that truly value the artwork, and some brands that just need the artwork to sell. And Kiehl’s is one of those brands that – as you can tell from the pop-up here – really put the money and effort into making the concept the best it can be, as opposed to saying ‘OK, how we do this with as little money as possible’ but which doesn’t do justice to the artist and the artwork.”
Interactive consumer experiences
Besides limited-edition products and special offers, the pop-up also offers a host of immersive digital experiences that are exclusive to Changi Airport.
Taking centre stage is a Kiehl’s motorcycle which lets travellers take a virtual reality ride from the Kiehl’s flagship in New York City through Mount Everest to Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. Participants can redeem Kiehl’s samples at the end of their journey.
Travellers can also get their fortune read at the fortune card machine, and share their readings via QR code.
Leveraging the power of K-pop celebrity
To mark the grand opening, Lee Tae-min – a member of popular South Korean band SHINee – made a special appearance at the pop-up, officiating the opening alongside representatives of L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific, The Shilla Duty Free and Changi Airport Group.
More than 30 of Taemin’s fans were invited by Kiehl’s to join in the festivities. A number of lucky fans were selected to go on stage to interact with their idol, who presented them with gifts including the Ultra Facial Cream and Lunar New Year-branded tote bags. He also took pictures with the crowd and toured the pop-up, taking a ride on the virtual reality motorbike and getting his fortune read at the fortune card machine.
To amplify the campaign across Asia, Kiehl’s also invited eight key opinion leaders from Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to drive awareness of the event. Besides posting images and videos, they also live-streamed the event to their followers on social media.