Teenagers are not the easiest audience to reach, and their reputation for cynicism with regards to advertising means that promoting a product to the youth market has to involve an element of cunning - hence the involvement of below-the-line specialist Space in the launch of the new Nivea Visage Young cosmetics range.
As the latest addition to the Nivea Visage portfolio, Nivea Visage Young is aimed at teenagers but provides an alternative to the medicated products on offer. "A third of teenagers do not have problem skin so do not need to use these medicated products. We saw a gap in the market for teenage skincare," says Faith Harrsen, senior brand manager at Nivea Visage.
Space won a three-way pitch in March and its team was given a three-month lead-time before the initial roadshow began to promote the product. David Atkinson, managing partner of Space, says: "When we were conceiving the idea, the issue was about understanding the target audience and recognising both their cynicism and need to be independent.
"The driver behind the campaign was that the activity would be taking place over the summer holidays, so we needed to tap into free time. A tie-in with Bliss magazine helped to create a connection and valued endorsement from a growing teenage magazine."
The Face Academy Tour visited five key shopping centres across the UK during August. At each event, teenagers were able to experience individual skincare consultations and receive samples, and were afforded the opportunity to enter a free prize draw to win a place at the four-day Face Academy in October.
The teen-only Face Academy event offers 20 winners the chance to learn about skincare, make up, fashion, hair and cuisine in a luxury environment during their half term holidays. A professional photographer will also provide tips and the course will be concluded with a graduation dinner.
Atkinson adds: "The academy is a once in a lifetime, money-can't-buy opportunity for teenage girls to really have some fun, while learning skills that will set them up for life. The Face Academy promotes education without the confines of school."
Although the wider Nivea brands have employed experiential marketing as part of larger integrated campaigns, this is the first time its Nivea Visage offshoot has employed the medium.
Harrsen says: "To target this market, experiential marketing is very important. We're always trying to bring the brand close to the consumer.
Above-the-line marketing only does so much at reaching out to the consumer.
The primary focus of the above-the-line element has been to raise awareness of the range while the below-the-line concept has been to enrich the depth of understanding."
Atkinson, who thought the stand was impactful and looked slick, agrees that the experiential element helped to establish the brand.
He says: "The sampling allowed us to establish a deeper connection with teenagers and increase their dwell time. With music playing and product samples on offer, the consumers were enticed while they were already shopping."
When Nivea looked at media planning research it found that, on average, teenagers spent more time online than they spent watching television, the implication being that they may be less susceptible to standard campaigns.
The online element was therefore crucial.
As a result, consumers were asked to visit a website to register for a free prize draw. This involved entering the last four digits of the product barcode, ensuring that each consumer interacted with the product.
Feedback so far has been positive and Nivea is looking forward to the climactic Face Academy event due to be held at the end of the month. "As we continue I'd hope that we would repeat the Face Academy and that the campaign would become more and more integrated," concludes Harrsen.
Brand experience agency Sense has worked with Space on a number of projects since setting up earlier this year. It was contracted by the below-the-line agency to manage the logistical aspects of the campaign.
"Space had a loose creative concept for the stand. We then took this initial creative concept and implemented it," says Sense managing director Nick Adams.
Sense was brought on board eight weeks before the project went live.
The brief requested using venues with a footfall of 250,000 consumers a week. Fashion retailers and stockists of the Nivea products needed to be in close vicinity and the site needed to be smart while being capable of adequately accommodating the stand.
The inflatable stand stood at 21sqm and included a closed off consultation area that provided some privacy. "We had to keep the stand open and accessible despite including a closed off section. For many of the young consumers we targeted it was their first experience of a skin care consultation so we aimed at keeping it warm and inviting. A more closed stand would have been intimidating," says Adams.
Sense supported the evaluation aspect of the campaign by providing sample volumes, which reached 200,000, and consultation figures. Further feedback forms were filled out after each consultation and the sales uplift in local shops was monitored.