In a conversation with afaqs!, Pankaj Sharma, director of consumer products division, L’Oréal India, talks about the brand's 'Beauty Squad', choice of ambassadors, and more.
L’Oreal’s cosmetics brand Maybelline New York has announced three brand ambassadors for India, in a bid to strengthen its connection with Gen Z. Collectively called as the ‘Beauty Squad’, the ambassadors include actress Suhana Khan, singer Ananya Birla and Eksha Subba – sikkim cop-turned-supermodel.
The trio join Olympian PV Sindhu, who became the brand ambassador last year.
Suhana, daughter of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, took to Instagram to share her excitement about the association. She joins the brand just before her Bollywood debut in Zoya Akhtar’s ‘The Archies’.
Maybelline’s choice of ambassadors stems from its consistent adherence to the proposition of inclusivity and diversity.
Pankaj Sharma, director of consumer products division, L’Oreal India, spoke to afaqs! about the launch, among other things.
He opines that the new faces are an extension of Maybelline’s push for diversity and empowering women.
“Our three new ambassadors join Sindhu to form our Indian beauty squad. The idea is to bring more diversity, not just in products, but also in terms of suitability.”
Maybelline also took the opportunity to promote three new products.
“We’re focussing on three products that will be promoted under this campaign. These include our latest sensation Vinyl Ink, Mascara and Fit Me. The three represent the categories of lips, eyes and face respectively,” shares Sharma.
Two commercials will go live in April. Sharma reveals that the campaign’s media mix is dominated by digital.
The brand is also extending its marketing spends towards influencer marketing. Sharma reveals that Maybelline has joined hands with multiple influencers for the campaign.
“With this campaign, we’ve also joined hands with influencers. In fact, our influencer partners are busy creating content to represent Maybelline. We generally have a good relationship with the influencer community, because word of mouth is very crucial.”
The makeup industry, like others, suffered a blow during the COVID pandemic. But it also meant that many people spent their time on Internet. This, according to Sharma, has led to some interesting trends.
“During COVID, the consumption was ‘soft’ and the category suffered. But post-COVID, we’re seeing spectacular growth. We’ve also seen some interesting consumer trends. First, making one’s eyes beautiful, has gained prominence. So, mascaras, eye shadows, eyeliners, etc., have become more popular.”
“Second, the ‘skinification’ of makeup has seen a lot of growth. The sale of products, such as foundation, concealer or primers, has increased quite a bit. And, of course, lips have always been a priority.”
Talking about the post-COVID category growth, Sharma mentions, “People are now able to celebrate more often. People were locked up for a major part of two years due to COVID. Now, they’re enjoying life more openly.”
From a distribution standpoint, Sharma explained that the brand is maintaining its presence across all outlets. Between its offline retail stores and e-commerce platforms like Nykaa and Amazon, Maybelline is indifferent to how the sales occur.
“We distribute across all platforms. We sell our products across all avenues. Our sales are spread across offline stores and e-commerce platforms. We follow wherever consumers are and build our distribution strategy accordingly.”
Traditionally, makeup industry in India has seen some questionable trends in terms of advocating a particular type of beauty standard. Many of the cosmetic brands have evolved over the years to conform to the growing awareness of racism and discrimination.
Sharma reckons that the industry has grown positively over the past decade, and the progress is a continuous endeavour. He says, “India as a country has always been very inclusive. With the way the things are going, the change is palpable. Maybelline as a brand has also embraced the change, with a progressive outlook towards the world.”