Adweek talks to Mary Kay's director of U.S. consumer marketing Kim Sater about the brand's deep relationship with Lifetime's long-running fashion design competition show Project Runway—why it's different, and why it works.
Why do a major TV integration with Project Runway?
The Mary Kay Color Design Studio, where the models go for makeup before walking the runway, is a perfect way to showcase the full Mary Kay line. … The makeup looks [that are] used on the models play a big role in completing the overall look of the design, so the designers can get very passionate about it, and the audience at home is interested in how to get the looks or how to interpret the looks for everyday wear. That makes the partnership go way beyond just being an official sponsor of the show. We are part of the show every week and part of the designer’s vision.
One of your top artists is appearing on the show.
Luis Casco is one of Mary Kay’s global makeup artists, and we were thrilled to have him integrated into the show. In this role, Luis is the on-air representative of the brand. Luis was on set in the Mary Kay Color Design Studio consulting with the show’s designers on their visions for their models and working with the makeup artist team to create beautiful makeup looks for the runway shows. Luis also created several Project Runway beauty looks to show how any woman can take inspiration from the runway and create looks that work for them.
Does the integration involve multiple media, driving viewers to different screens?
Yes. There is the in-show integration that lives in the program itself and stays with the content through encore episodes and episodes that live online. There are our commercials, which drive viewers to MaryKay.com or to their Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. We have a digital component, both on MyLifetime.com and MaryKay.com, which includes the Fan Favorite voting, brought to you by Mary Kay.
Project Runway fans are passionate, and they want to have an impact on the show. The Fan Favorite voting gives them the ability to reward their favorite designers, regardless of how the judges voted. Voters can [click] from there to more content on Mary Kay channels. We have a significant social campaign around the looks and the Fan Favorite voting, as well as live tweeting during the show.
We have the Mary Kay virtual makeover app, where women can upload their picture and try on one-click looks from the show, and she can put her finished look on a Project Runway backdrop and share it with her friends. We will even have a print component, as one of the designers will be featured in a Mary Kay ad in an upcoming issue of Marie Claire.
Which metrics will you use to measure the effectiveness of the integration?
Our overall goal for the program is to increase consumer consideration and purchase intent, which we measure through proprietary research. We will be looking at metrics within each channel as well. For social, we will look at overall volume, reach and sentiment of conversations, as well as increases in followers across our channels during the season. On the Web, we will look at traffic, conversions and sales tied to the show. We will also work with Lifetime to get metrics on the Fan Favorite voting and the number of voters who go on to seek out more Mary Kay content.