SOUTH KOREA. Japanese cosmetics brand shu uemura’s first-ever lip-focused range was the centre of a major L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific event in Seoul last month, held in partnership with Lotte Duty Free and The Shilla Duty Free.
For its spring 2018 artist collaboration, shu uemura teamed up with Paris-based jewellery and accessories designer Yazbukey to create the Yazbukey x shu uemura Mattitude collection.
On 16–17 June in Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), the shu uemura Mattitude Party hosted customers of Lotte and Shilla as well as select social media influencers and media, including The Moodie Davitt Report*. The highlight of the event was a special appearance by Mattitude launch ambassador, Son Naeun from K-pop group A-Pink.
This is the second time the Japanese beauty brand has collaborated with Yazbukey, following the launch of the inaugural Yazbukey x shu uemura spring 2015 collection which included lipstick, cleansing oils, an eye palette and nail polish.
Launched in travel retail Asia on 1 May, the Mattitude collection comprises shu uemura’s bestselling Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte Lipstick in 16 shades and the new Magic Metallic Lip Liner in four shades. The limited-edition packaging features Yazbukey’s signature graphic lip motifs in four colours, each corresponding to a different Mattitude lipstick shade family: Sexy Red, Lovely Nude, Quirky Pink and Edgy Berry.
Dressed in these four bold colours, the event venue was transformed into an experiential playground with several interactive zones, designed with shu uemura’s digitally savvy millennial customers in mind.
Guests could choose from a variety of backdrops, décor and props to take selfies, from the giant neon-lit lip at the entrance, themed photo walls, to the ball pool and lip couch. Pictures shared on social media with the hashtag #shumattitudeparty could be printed instantly at the photo booths on-site. Guests also had the opportunity to play a virtual reality game and get makeovers from shu uemura’s certified make-up artists. Participants who collected all four stamps after completing the activities at each interactive zone got to win prizes.
Fans of brand ambassador Son Naeun also got the chance to interact with the K-pop idol, who shared beauty tips, played games and took selfies with them. Four members of the audience were handpicked by Naeun to go on stage for makeovers based on the four Mattitude looks: Sexy, Lovely, Quirky and Edgy.
Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report at the event, L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific Marketing Director for shu uemura Jesus Arias Abia said: “What we want to transmit to the consumers with this event is that shu uemura is a fun, playful and very interactive brand. It’s a party with lots of music and digital elements; we have beautiful rooms where guests can take pictures and share on their social media – Instagram, WeChat etc.
“So we are offering a real 360-degree consumer experience where their dreams of meeting a K-pop star will come true and we have a lot of surprises. This is a playground for consumers to ‘play, create and master their own beauty’ – that’s the brand motto – and to really experience shu uemura.”
Founded in 1967 by Japanese make-up artist Shu Uemura, the eponymous brand was developed on his holistic philosophy that beautiful make-up starts with beautiful skin. Its product line has expanded from cosmetics to include professional make-up tools such as brushes, eyelash curlers and other accessories including false eyelashes.
Abia said the brand DNA is defined by three things: its Tokyo flair, its atelier make-up artistry and its edgy chicness. “What is edgy chic? Think flawless professional make-up with a bold twist,” he explained. “We want shu uemura to become a leading make-up artistry brand in the market and of course in South Korea. In travel retail, our objective is to increase the awareness of and – importantly – the hotness of the brand, and bring more sales to the channel. We want to make shu uemura a true make-up destination for travelling consumers in Asia.”
The growth of shu uemura has been driven by the J-Beauty wave and demand from Asian travellers, especially the Chinese, Abia noted. “One of the top reasons to travel for the Chinese is shopping and beauty is always on their list, so targeting Chinese consumers travelling around Asia is one of our key objectives. shu uemura is performing extremely well in China so we want to capitalise on this in the travel retail channel as well,” he said.
“As a Japanese brand with an international mind-set, shu uemura’s consumers are quite dynamic and multicultural. In travel retail, our top buying nationalities are Chinese, followed by Koreans and Japanese,” Abia revealed. “At shu uemura, we always put our consumers first, so we have chosen one of their favourite travel destinations in Asia to have our Mattitude Party. In addition, South Korea is known as the inspiration source of make-up and fashion trends with a very unique culture.”
To grow the brand in the region, L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific is focusing on accelerating its digital, e-commerce and in-store sales initiatives. It is also looking to organise more consumer engagement events such as the Mattitude Party in partnership with retailer partners. Connecting with consumers on different digital touchpoints of their journey and developing strong e-commerce partnerships with retailers are key to its strategy.
“Digital is always on top of our mind,” Abia underlined. “Even for the event, every element – from the décor to the interactions – was designed to be unique and shareable by consumers on their social media. We made sure everything is ‘Instagrammable’ and ‘WeChatable’, and we have also invited key opinion leaders (KOLs) from China and Korea to live-stream the event which will help to increase the awareness of the brand.
“We have an instant photo printing service for consumers to take pictures which they can share on Instagram and print instantly, and an Insta-Live Wall displaying all the pictures shared on social media with the #shumattitudeparty hashtag. For the first time, we have a virtual reality game to really bring digital to another level. So it’s extremely engaging, it’s fun, and we can provide the consumers with a memorable experience,” he said.
For shu uemura to achieve its goal of becoming a leading make-up artistry brand, Abia recognised that it needs to develop its strength across all the make-up categories.
“The Mattitude Party is a great example of our efforts to develop the lip category, which is trending in the market and gives us an opportunity to express the brand identity of shu uemura. That’s why we have chosen to focus on the lip category this spring with the Mattitude Collection and our iconic lip prestige product – Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte Lipstick, with its beautiful matte finish, vibrant colour pay-off and melting texture. It has been very popular over the past few years, so we thought it was the perfect product for the spring collection this year,” he said.
The eye and face make-up categories are next on the promotional agenda, he shared. “To sustain our leadership in the eye category, we will roll out the #eyelovecolor animation this summer, focusing on our bestselling brow product Hard Formula. Developing the face category – the fastest-growing category in make-up now – is also a priority: we will relaunch our iconic Lightbulb Fluid Foundation together with the new Cushion Lightbulb in September,” he said.
“I believe we are on the right track to develop these three categories and become the make-up artistry brand we want to be,” Abia concluded.