Where The Girls Are

Adweek: Maybelline is launching a Web site Tuesday for its new makeup line, Pure, that takes a novel approach to engaging teenage girls and young women. Instead of focusing on its products, the cosmetics company is taking a page from MySpace’s playbook and inviting visitors to create and share content.
Built by aQuantive’s Avenue A/Razorfish, the site, WhatisPure.com, will debut with polls on issues close to the hearts of the 18- to 24-year-old female target: beauty, fashion, music and Tom Cruise, among others. Visitors will be encouraged to create their own topics, share them with friends and upload personal photos.
One thing the site will not do much is hawk products. Instead, it will carry only a small link to product information at the bottom of Web pages. “We were thinking of the ways to talk to our consumer that she’s not accustomed to being spoken to by a CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand,” said Kristen Yraola, director of Internet at Maybelline New York.
Print ads for Pure will follow later this month.
Yraola said the average Maybelline Pure customer is a typical MySpace user: young and comfortable with the Web as a two-way medium. To reach her, Maybelline is advertising WhatisPure.com with a two-week blitz on MySpace, featuring rich-media ads with poll questions for girls to answer. It is relying on visitors to spread word of the site to their friends to build an audience, Yraola said. One concession to the freewheeling nature of such sites: Maybelline will screen all content before it goes live.
Gary Stein, director of client services at BuzzMetrics, a word-of-mouth research firm partly owned by Adweek parent company VNU, warned that advertisers need to tread carefully when trying to be the hub of pop-culture chatter. “Do [young girls] want to have that conversation with the brand?” he said. “It’s tough, particularly if you’re a CPG company.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.