SOUTH KOREA. shu uemura, the L’Oréal-owned makeup brand from Tokyo, celebrated the launch of its new RD163 red lip colour with a major pop-up in Seoul last weekend, held in partnership with Lotte Duty Free.

In line with its ‘Play, create and master your own beauty’ brand motto, shu uemura transformed Lotte Duty Free’s Star Lounge VIP customer facility at the travel retailer’s Myeong-dong store into the Shu Red Playground.

The pop-up, activated from 22 to 24 February, hosted 1,400 consumers and close to 20 beauty influencers and media, including The Moodie Davitt Report*.

Welcome to the Shu Red Playground, celebrating shu uemura’s new RD163 lipstick shade.

Hailed as “the perfect red for every Asian skin tone”, RD163 was launched in Asia Pacific travel retail on 1 January as the latest addition to shu uemura’s Rouge Unlimited lipstick range. Based on researching thousands of Asian women, shu uemura International Artistic Director Kakuyasu Uchiide has created a shade that finely balances yellow and blue tones “to enhance every Asian skin complexion”.

Dressed in a limited-edition packaging, the RD163 lipstick comes in three finishes: matte, shu uemura’s bestselling creamy texture with a moisturising feel; satin, a lightweight formula featuring Japanese camellia oil that allows for layering without feathering; and lacquer shine, a new glossy, wet-look finish with a smooth texture that melts on lips upon application.

[Click on the YouTube video below to learn more about RD163]

Featuring six experiential areas across three rooms, the Shu Red Playground was designed to amplify RD163’s key message – ‘The Red Code to unlock your beauty’ – through interactive games and digital technologies.

To begin, consumers were invited to ‘check in’ at the pop-up reception by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones to activate a digital map of the Shu Red Playground. The map, available in both Korean and Chinese, comprised the six experiential areas (or checkpoints) where consumers could participate in activities. Those who completed all the activities and shared their photos on social media with the hashtag #ShuRedPlayground were able to unlock a prize: an exclusive RD163-branded waist pouch.

A specially designed digital map leads consumers on their journey through the Shu Red Playground, allowing them to ‘check in’ at six checkpoints.

The first room, which featured two checkpoints, highlighted shu uemura’s Japanese makeup artistry. At the first checkpoint, shu uemura certified makeup artists helped consumers discover their ideal Shu Red lip and provided makeovers using the brand’s signature method of makeup application. After their makeovers, consumers could head to the next checkpoint to take photos against the ‘Instagrammable’ Shu Red Jenga backdrop.

To enhance the customer journey with digitalisation, shu uemura’s bestselling products – including cleansing oils, brow pencils and foundation – were displayed here with QR codes that led to Lotte Duty Free’s online shopping portal for instant purchase.

The Makeup Artistry room (above and below) offers consumers the chance to discover their perfect red and get a lip makeover, as well as explore shu uemura’s other iconic products.

Giant Shu Red Jenga blocks and selfie-friendly lighting make an Instagram-worthy backdrop.

The second room captured shu uemura’s “edgy chic” brand DNA with fun gaming elements and photo opportunities across four checkpoints. Games ranged from the digital to physical, and included a digitalised interactive slot machine, ‘gashapon’ machines (capsule toy-dispensing vending machines popular in Japan) and a ghost bowling arcade machine. Besides playing games and winning instant prizes, consumers could take photos at the neon-lit photo wall.

Inspired by shu uemura’s ‘Tokyo flair’, the third room recreated the bright lights of Tokyo with mirrors and Japanese glass décor on the ceiling which reflected off the changing coloured lights. Instant photo-printing machines were also available, allowing consumers to print any Instagram photos hashtagged #ShuRedPlayground as a keepsake of their visit.

The Shu Red Playground combines digital and physical play with a digitalised slot machine (above) and a more traditional ghost bowling arcade game (below).

An Instagrammer’s dream: A mirrored tunnel with hanging glass installation and changing lights create the ultimate photo opportunity.

L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific General Manager of shu uemura Tony Khajenouri commented: “We are very proud to launch the Shu Red Playground together with Lotte Duty Free in Seoul. This is a perfect example of how we constantly push our creative boundaries to express the unique identity of our Tokyo-based brand to travellers all over the world.”

Lotte Duty Free Managing Director of Cosmetic & Perfume Division SK Lee said: “Lotte Duty Free has become a traveller’s destination for the biggest and the best brands from around the world. The unique proposition that sets Lotte apart from everyone else are amazing events that are curated for our specific travelling consumer, making Lotte Duty Free a must-stop on her itinerary. This shu uemura event is another example of the collaborative partnership between Lotte Duty Free and L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific.”

Pushing creative boundaries with digital and gamification

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific General Manager of shu uemura Tony Khajenouri said the Shu Red Playground has successfully brought the shu uemura brand motto to life.

“We designed a social content-driven playground where every spot is picture perfect,” said L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific General Manager of shu uemura Tony Khajenouri.

“We wanted consumers to discover shu uemura’s perfect purest red – RD163, a pure, timeless red lipstick that goes beyond trends to beautify every single unique face – through a fun and playful retailtainment experience. Our team has once again successfully pushed the boundaries in bringing creative games and innovation to the pop-up.

“All in all, we have delivered a true ‘Play, create and master your own beauty’ duty free shopping experience to travellers – ‘play’, with our capsule vending machines, bowling game and digitalised interactive slot machine; and ‘create and master your own beauty’, with shu uemura’s certified makeup artists to inspire customers to discover their perfect red lip look,” said Khajenouri.

Besides offering a fun and engaging experience, the Shu Red Playground was intended to take consumers on a seamless online-to-offline journey and encourage online sharing on social networks.

“We believe the best retailtainment experience needs to be shared online with friends and family,” said Khajenouri. “We designed a social content-driven playground where every spot is picture perfect, with the shu uemura branding and playful elements such as giant Shu Red Jenga blocks, neon light walls and a Tokyo-inspired tunnel with Japanese glass décor and dancing lights – creative ways to engage digital-savvy makeup addicts.

“Apart from the decorations tailor-made for content creation, we also developed a H5 micro site with a Shu Red Playground digital map that invites all consumers to unlock all the checkpoints and to share photos on Instagram and Weibo with the hashtag #ShuRedPlayground.

“Consumers can register online on our registration site or onsite to activate this personalised Shu Red experience via QR code. It is exciting to know that we have received very positive participation and feedback from consumers with 2,000 online registrations, alongside with top Chinese key opinion leaders (KOLs) spreading the excitement of our event on Weibo and Instagram.”

Khajenouri underlined the importance of a culturally sensitive team and the partnership with Lotte Duty Free in delivering this large-scale and exclusive pop-up concept.

“I am proud to be working with a diversified team that understands the culture and needs of our consumers, and is able to translate the story of shu uemura by engaging with KOLs who share the same vision of beauty as us.

“We are very proud to launch the Shu Red Playground together with Lotte Duty Free. We constantly bounce ideas back and forth, and they have been supportive in allowing us to push our creative boundaries, to express the unique identity of our Tokyo-based brand to travellers all over the world.”

Khajenouri noted 2018 as “an encouraging year” for shu uemura, underpinned by strong sales and social media buzz from successful launches such as the Yazbukey Mattitude Collection and the la maison du chocolat Christmas collaboration.

“We are confident RD163 will be another success,” he added. “Red is the most classic and iconic shade for lip – and [the trend] is striking back strong. Red also means happiness and good fortune in Chinese culture, so it works very well amongst Chinese travellers.”

L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific General Manager of shu uemura Tony Khajenouri said that the Shu Red Playground is designed to engage digital-savvy makeup addicts and facilitate content creation.

The year ahead will see a further boost to the shu uemura product line-up as the brand continues to enhance the travel retail shopping experience, Khajenouri noted.

“As a professional makeup artist brand, we want to bring new makeup trends and inspirations with innovative and exciting launches for 2019, starting with the shu uemura RD163 to unlock the beauty of all Asian women.

“Retailtainment is one of the key ingredients of our success; aside from the immersive experience seen at the Shu Red Playground pop-up, we are doing full counter wrapping decoration at selected points of sale, with digitalised slot machines for gift-with-purchase lucky draw games to elevate the travellers’ shopping experience.

“Our goal is to beat the makeup market by bringing the best products, edgy chic launch concepts, strong social media engagement and full retail experience to consumers. In March, we will launch a new breathable long-lasting foundation – Unlimited Foundation. This new best-in-market Unlimited Foundation, together with the iconic Shu Red RD163 and our number one bestselling Hard Formula brow pencil, will definitely help us to become the most-loved brand by our consumers.”

*Footnote: The Moodie Davitt Report provided on-location coverage of the launch of Shu Red Playground via Instagram – check out the ‘shu #RD163’ Story Highlight at this link.