BOLINGBROOK, IL: Beauty retailer Ulta Beauty has brought on Hunter to handle its consumer-facing media relations efforts, adding a second AOR to its agency roster.
The relationship is set to begin on Wednesday, following a competitive RFP that was focused on ways agencies could bolster Ulta’s “robust, beauty-centric consumer efforts,” Eileen Ziesemer, Ulta Beauty VP of PR, said via email. The RFP took place in Q4 2022, and Hunter was awarded the business just before the end of the year.
Based in New York and Los Angeles, Hunter will manage Ulta’s consumer media relations, focused on the retailer’s “beauty authority, its beloved tentpole moments such as 21 Days of Beauty and the critical holiday season,” Ziesemer said. “The work will celebrate all of the categories across Ulta Beauty’s assortment and will naturally incorporate key elements of strategic platforms such as The Wellness Shop and Sparked.”
Melissa Rooney, MD of Hunter’s beauty, fashion and personal care practice, is leading the account team, which will be focused on driving impactful, consumer-focused headlines for Ulta inspired by culture, trends and data-rich insights.
“As beauty enthusiasts ourselves, we are thrilled to partner with the largest U.S. beauty retailer to enhance its storytelling and build powerful consumer connections,” said Rooney, via email. “Putting our Hunter mantra of ‘earning it’ to work, we look forward to sharing with media and consumers alike all the beautiful possibilities found at Ulta Beauty.”
Budget information was not disclosed.
Ulta also works with Zeno Group, which owns thought leadership, executive visibility and Ulta’s equity storytelling efforts spanning consumer, trade and business audiences.
“We evolved our agency format to allow for centers of excellence in these critical spaces and the shift to two agencies only reflects increased opportunities for our business and a streamlined focus internally and with our partners,” Ziesemer said.
Both agencies are AORs for Ulta Beauty, with individually set goals and objectives laddering to Ulta’s innovative beauty and retail leadership. The internal PR team will ensure connectivity across agencies to align all PR efforts, Ziesemer noted.
“As our business continues to grow and beauty enthusiasts’ wants, needs and values continue to evolve, so too do our storytelling opportunities at Ulta Beauty,” said Ziesemer. “We exist to shape and reshape beauty and retail experiences, and we’re excited to further inspire our guests, investors and brand partners alike with our exceptional communications partners.”
In Q3, Ulta's operating income for the quarter increased 27.3% to $361.9 million, and net sales increased 17.2% to $2.3 billion, compared to Q3 2021.
Hunter reported 33% growth in 2021 to $42.3 million, with U.S. revenue up 35% to $41.3 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022.