CAMPAIGNS: Gale Group shows versatility behind a 'flat' innovation

PR Team: Styli-Style (New York) and Gale Group (New York) Campaign: Styli-Style's Flat Pencil Time Frame: February 2003-ongoing Budget: $200,000-$250,000

PR Team: Styli-Style (New York) and Gale Group (New York) Campaign: Styli-Style's Flat Pencil Time Frame: February 2003-ongoing Budget: $200,000-$250,000

In our fast-paced world, it seems the only way to keep from falling behind is to multitask. The same holds true for the products we use, which is why companies are scrambling to produce versatile items. Based on this principle, cosmetic company Styli-Style recently designed a flat makeup pencil for both the eye and lip areas. What's more, its unique shape is ideal for drawing thin or thick lines, as well as for use as a liner or a shadow. "It's essentially several products in one," says Tara Clavell Vera, beauty account manager at Gale Group, which developed the launch campaign for Styli-Style. In the saturated industry of cosmetics, where many buying decisions result from word of mouth, it isn't easy for new products to catch the consumer's eye. To unveil the flat pencil in such a competitive market, Styli-Style hired Gale Group, a firm it has worked with in the past. Strategy Styli-Style wanted consumers to view the flat-pencil innovation as a beauty product that offers something truly different, says Clavell Vera. In a larger sense, the company sought to position itself as a provider of pioneering, revolutionary products. Tactics To emphasize the makeup pencil's distinctive shape, Gale Group developed a campaign that began with a "flat" invitation mailing, which included a bottle of flat water, a pair of flat shoes, and a photograph of the famous Flatiron building in New York. "We wanted to focus on the shape itself, and how that would benefit the user," says Clavell Vera. The campaign was centered around the official product launch, which took place in April at Flute, a champagne bar located in the Flatiron district. More than 70 editors, artists, and industry people participated, and each were given a pair of sample pencils. To showcase the product, Gale Group enlisted celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal, who has worked with such stars as Celine Dion. Roncal demonstrated the 22 assorted colors available for summer and fall, while the founder and president of Styli-Style, Grant Berry, explained how the pencil's distinctive shape allows for its multipurpose use. Results Following the event, makeup rolls were sent to editors, and even unsolicited editors began to ask for product samples, says Clavell Vera. Coverage appeared in various media, including consumer beauty magazines such as Marie Claire and Glamour, as well as a segment on WCBS-TV morning news. "With a lot of creativity and imagination, and a petite budget, the Gale Group has managed to pull off a campaign that has created an enormous buzz within the industry," says Berry. Even more impressive, stock of the flat pencil has completely sold out (350,000 units) since it hit stores in August, and Styli-Style is rushing to produce more. As of now, the company has 20 confirmed sellers, and believes this figure will soon reach 30. "The PR campaign has played a huge role in its success. Gale Group is a key player in this program," says Berry. Future Positive feedback continues to roll in, and just recently the flat pencil won the most ingenious eye-enhancing beauty award by Cosmopolitan. The campaign is far from over; Gale Group is still sending out mailings, the last of which included several new colors in development. Beyond new mailings, Clavell Vera says, "We want to keep interest in Styli-Style as a whole."

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