SOUTH KOREA. Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific marked the start of the busy Christmas season at Shinsegae Duty Free’s Myeong-dong department store on Saturday with the official opening of its ‘Make It Merrier with Kiehl’s’ pop-up, the largest to be staged at the Seoul store.

The spectacular animation – which opened to the public on Friday and runs for just three days until Sunday 15 December – is in the Mirror Carousel space of the duty free beauty hall on the tenth-floor.

Kiehl’s creates a 360-degree immersive pop-up with Shinsegae Duty Free complete with digital wraparound. The animation is built around Shinsegae’s eye-catching 7.5m x 4.5m Mirror Carousel [All pictures: Kevin Rozario]

All wrapped up for the festive gifting season. The giant digital signage encircles the whole promotional area.

The promotion takes up the full pop-up area offering a ‘winter wonderland’ theme while the digital wraparound wall which encloses that part of the hall also features Kiehl’s video animations. They highlight the brand’s New York heritage by featuring holiday activities from skating in Central Park to carolling in Washington Square.

Toasting success (from left): Kiehl’s Travel Retail Area Manager Patrick Kim; Kiehl’s Marketing Manager Lydia Acheukat; Kiehl’s Travel Retail General Manager Petrina Kho;, K-pop star Eric Nam; Shinsegae Duty Free Merchandising Division SVP Hong Seok Ho; and Shinsegae Beauty General Manager Hee Eun Chung

Pedestrians beware: The Moodie Davitt Report Editor-at-Large Kevin Rozario road-tests the Kiehl’s snowmobile [Picture: Yan Xin Tay]

The scale of the animation means that shoppers are fully immersed in the L’Oréal-owned brand for the three-day promotional period. “This is the first time a brand has taken the whole space,” Shinsegae Duty Free Merchandising Division Senior Vice President Hong Seok Ho told The Moodie Davitt Report at the event.

Hong – whose remit includes perfumes and cosmetics, luxury fashion and watches, boutiques (including Cartier, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Van Cleef & Arpels) as well as liquor and tobacco – added: “We are thrilled to be part of the Make It Merrier campaign. Our strong partnership with Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific has enabled us to constantly deliver unique and inspiring retail experiences to our shoppers, and we look forward to more exciting collaborations in the future.”

At your service: KCRs (Kiehl’s Customer Representatives)

Three lucky winners of a prize draw were overjoyed to receive Kiehl’s gifts from their K-pop idol Eric Nam. Below the cheque that will eventually go to Room to Read* when the donation period ends.

A perfect business case for Kiehl’s

A pop-up on this scale for Kiehl’s in the South Korean travel retail market (the world’s biggest) makes perfect business sense, albeit for just three days.

1. The brand is one of four drivers for L’Oréal’s fast-growing Luxe division. In the first half of the year, the heavyweights of Giorgio Armani, Kiehl’s, Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent had combined like-for-like growth of +16%, versus +13.2% for the division.

2. Asia Pacific is regarded by L’Oréal as its most powerful growth engine with first-half growth of +24% and China surging at +39%.

3. Skincare – the dominant category for beauty in South Korea – grew in the same period by +18%, more than double the market rate.

4. L’Oréal has earmarked the travel retail channel as one of six engines that will help it outperform the beauty market. Sales growth hit +21% in the first half.

These four elements have come together neatly in the ‘Make It Merrier with Kiehl’s’ pop-up.

Making experiences count

General Manager for Kiehl’s, Helena Rubinstein and Urban Decay at L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific Petrina Kho told The Moodie Davitt Report: “Pop-ups are very important because their raise awareness with travelling consumers and give them their first ‘handshake’ with the brand in many cases. We hope this pop-up will give travellers visiting Seoul a memorable experience of their holiday. It offers a ‘wow’ factor as soon as shoppers enter the floor from the elevators.”

The holiday animation uses a series of play zones designed to heighten shopper engagement. They include a giant selfie snow-dome and a snowmobile where the rider uses a virtual reality headset to pick up Kiehl’s presents in a VR game.

This digital experience takes place alongside a bold collaboration with Finnish graphic artist and illustrator Janine Rewell (who has created the designs for limited-edition Kiehl’s products), plus a performance from acapella group Narin, and the celebrity appearance by K-pop R&B star Eric Nam. These extra elements tie together further strands that make the pop-up even more appealing to consumers.

Disruptive at multiple levels

“Kiehl’s is delighted to push the boundaries of disruptive and engaging retail expression with Shinsegae Duty Free,” said Kho. “This is the first time they have partnered with any beauty brand to do a 360-degree pop-up. It is also disruptive in the level of engagement and personalisation; and in the way we have partnered with Room to Read*, a non-governmental organisation”

“We want brands to walk the talk in terms of charity and social responsibility” – General Manager for Kiehl’s, Helena Rubinstein and Urban Decay Petrina Kho

This is the third commitment by Kiehl’s to corporate social responsibility projects this year. It follows a partnership with Zero Waste Singapore during Lunar New Year at Singapore Changi Airport, and a ‘Kiehl’s Loves Korea’ project last month with PUR Projet which helps companies offset their carbon emissions by planting trees. “We want brands to walk the talk in terms of charity and social responsibility,” Kho told us.

Making the holiday season more meaningful

Since its founding in 1851, Kiehl’s has a long-standing commitment to giving back to the community  It currently lends support in three broad areas: environmental protection, children’s well-being, and HIV research.

With the holiday pop-up the brand has partnered with Room to Read, a non-profit educational organisation that improves children’s literacy globally and supports education for girls.

From 1 November until 31 December 2019, Kiehl’s is donating US$1 to support the education of children in need with every purchase of Ultra Facial Cream Holiday Limited Edition (125ml), one of its top-selling skus. Room to Read stands to gain up to a ceiling of US$10,000 from this effort.

Customers can also share their favourite childhood storybook at the pop-up, and the final book list will be used by Room to Read as a reference for future book purchases for its young beneficiaries. The Moodie Davitt Report understands that after 1.5 days of the promotion being in place, 2,000 book titles were shared by shoppers.

Petrina Kho: “My mother would buy me story books like the Famous Five every time she was paid. That encouraged me to love reading to this day.”

Room to Read CEO Dr Geetha Murali, commented: “We are proud to partner with Kiehl’s to support children’s literacy, helping young girls and boys design their own destinies. This holiday season is an amazing opportunity to support communities around the world, as they experience the life-changing benefits of education. This transformational social impact makes the holiday festivities more meaningful.”

On a personal level, Kho gave a moving account of how growing up in Malacca in Malaysia, her mother – a new émigré at the time and illiterate – scrimped and saved to buy books for her daughter.

She told The Moodie Davitt Report: “My mother could not find an office job because of her illiteracy due to the fact that education for girls was not a priority then. So she did a lot of odd jobs as we grew up. She would buy me story books like the Famous Five [by Enid Blyton-Ed] every time she was paid. That encouraged me to love reading to this day.”

Statistics from Room to Read underline how typical Kho’s story is. According to Development Director Hong Kong, Rocio Lopez, the NGO’s model for girls’ education has ensured that 79% of them continued to tertiary education or to find employment. This compares to a school graduation rate of about 20% for low-income communities.

To date, Room to Read has helped 16.8 million children worldwide and the NGO wants to push this up to 40 million by 2025.

Going strong on Globuy

As a lead business partner of The Moodie Davitt Report, Kiehl’s will also appear in Chinese and with a consumer voice on fast-growing Chinese B2C WeChat social media account Globuy [玩转全球免税], as part of a new collaboration between Globuy owner Extra-Aile Media in Shanghai and The Moodie Davitt Report.

Globuy aims to become “the KOL of Chinese travel retail” and already has 400,000 followers and a monthly audience of 1 million views for its WeChat social media platform promoting new launches, product availability, promotions and special offers. Underlining the strong affinity and complementary nature of the two companies work, Globuy has dubbed The Moodie Davitt Report “the KOL of travel retail B2B media”

Under the agreement, selected stories from The Moodie Davitt’s lead brand partners in beauty, fashion, luxury, confectionery and premium spirits are also published by Globuy in Chinese. These include product reviews by the Globuy team.

Globuy is promoting The Moodie Davitt Report’s platform to China’s travel retail sector and to its own consumer audience in China. The Moodie Davitt Report subsequently also publishes a curated selection of Chinese consumer feedback on the chosen stories and will reveal the results of regular consumer surveys conducted in association with Globuy.