How does a Veterans’ Day fundraiser attract fierce loyalty from thousands of young women? The answer lies in a good lipstick.
In 2012, for the fourth year, Cosmopolitan and Maybelline used their considerable magnetism to invite donations for the United Service Organizations at Maybelline New York Presents Cosmopolitan Kisses for the Troops.
An inaugural kiss from actress Rose McGowan ushered in the flagship event in New York, along with 36,363,982 press and media impressions (the event’s grand total soared over 325 million). Three screens broadcasted splashy images of fuchsia lips over Times Square, beckoning consumers to the main tent where—with a dab of Maybelline’s Color Sensational range of lip color—they kissed a postcard bearing a message of thanks to the troops.
These weren’t empty kisses: As in past years, Cosmo and Maybelline donated one dollar to the USO for each postcard collected. In return for the flirtatious fundraising, attendees puckered up in a photo booth and sent their kiss to social media before accepting a complimentary Maybelline product.
Kisses for the Troops collected a total of 93,523 postcard kisses in 2012, a substantial leap from a total of 1,817 in the first year’s event. But because all of the tubes of Color Sensational lipstick in Times Square couldn’t cover that many lips, promotion lives from October to December online, in print, and in satellite events held on college campuses.
In particular, introducing the Campus Kisses for the Troops events in 2011 was a turning point in terms of reach, Jo Bray, Cosmopolitan’s executive director of marketing, says. In 2012, 40 sororities—up from 30 the previous year—threw a “kissing party” for the cause. Products, playlists, and a Maybelline makeup artist were dispatched to participating campuses, resulting in 58,000 extra kisses and plenty of online chatter.
And with 2.2 million Facebook page “likes” and more than half a million Twitter followers, Cosmo was poised for all of these kisses to go viral. This year, a targeted Facebook campaign sent consumers to Cosmo’s website. There, a digital postcard presented itself for a kiss, with options to then share it again on social media. The tool generated a further 15,000 contributions, and Bray says there’s room for more.
“We’re looking at digitally where this consumer is, and how we can reach her,” she says. “Mobile is a big platform this year: We get over 162 million pageviews a month, and 44 percent of that comes from mobile. So next year, we’re looking at how you’d send a kiss from your mobile device.”
In addition to next year’s Times Square event, Bray hopes new digital and mobile strategies will drive further Color Sensational kisses of goodwill.
“We want to help lend the big voice of Maybelline and Cosmo together to the cause,” she says. “Cosmo is the most culturally relevant magazine for this demographic. Our reach and our voice—which really is the voice that this woman listens to—combined with the product that Maybelline can provide is just such a perfect partnership.”