Agency nails campaign for Cutex polish remover

To support the launch of a product called SPA Formula, Cutex Brands and Black Twig Communications positioned Cutex Brands as an innovator in the nail polish remover category.

Client: Cutex Brands (Festus, Missouri)
Agency: Black Twig Communications (St. Louis, Missouri)
Campaign: SPA Formula product launch
Duration: December 2013 - June 2014
Budget: $75,000

To support the February 2014 launch of a product called SPA Formula, Cutex Brands and its AOR Black Twig Communications educated consumers about the product’s benefits and positioned Cutex Brands overall as an innovator in the nail polish remover category.

"Cutex has been around more than 100 years and has had many owners," explains Barbara Hershfelt, director of sales and marketing for Cutex. "There wasn’t any marketing or support for the brand for about 10 or 12 years before Arch Equity Partners bought it in 2010. Private label brands had taken over, but the Cutex name has retained value with consumers.

"Nail polish has changed a lot in recent years, yet remover hasn’t kept up," Hershfelt continues. "Cutex is now focused on making a better remover that’s more effective and not bad for your nails. Our goal is to educate 18- to 45-year-old consumers about the nail polish remover category in general and let them know why Cutex products are different from other nail polish removers."

Media relations and social media engagement drove awareness of the new product’s points of differentiation and sales.

"Beauty editors are hungry for stories about nail polish remover, and the SPA Formula is especially newsworthy because it’s good for your nails, and it’s more effective on hard-to-remove polishes," Hershfelt says. 

Editors and writers for top consumer women’s and beauty magazines and blogs got to try the product ahead of its launch during a New York City media tour last December.

Media relations continued throughout the campaign, including local outreach in select retailer markets.

The SPA Formula was included in giveaways for readers of the Beauty Undercover blog in February and Girls’ Life magazine in April.

About 24 influential beauty bloggers were pitched product information and samples.

The team also regularly posted product information and links to influencer reviews on Cutex’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

The homepage of featured SPA Formula information and links to retailers.

As part of an add-on to a radio ad buy in the St. Louis, Missouri, market, attendees of three "picnic parties" hosted in high-traffic outdoor locations around the city in May, June, and July got to test the product and were asked to like Cutex on Facebook.

Hershfelt says SPA Formula exceeded sales projections by 25% February to June. 

Hershfelt also notes Cutex executives are in talks with Target executives about getting Cutex products in stores for the first time (Target only carries one brand of nail polish remover).

Thirty-four earned placements have run to date in outlets such as Vogue, Real Simple, Ladies’ Home Journal,,,, and

Agency senior account executive Lauren Freinberg says the Girls’ Life giveaway drew nearly 4,000 entries, and about 400 people attended each picnic party event.

Media and blogger outreach is ongoing. Pitch angles include trends for back-to-school season, fall fashion, and general beauty.

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