Birchbox Takes Beauty Message To TV

Birchbox -- an e-commerce beauty site best known for its monthly sampling program -- may be a digital darling, but it’s using good old-fashioned television for its first ad campaign.

Themed “Open for Beautiful,” the advertising effort is running on cable networks in key markets. A shoppable version is running on its Web site and in digital ads.

“We’ve been in business since 2010, and offering men’s products since 2012, and up until now, relied on great press and good word-of-mouth,” says Deena Bahri, CMO at Birchbox. But with its latest expansion efforts, including opening a physical store, acquiring a European beauty site and closing an additional $60 million in venture funding, she tells Marketing Daily it’s time to reach out to even more potential customers. “We want to amplify our message, and TV is such a great megaphone.”

“There are plenty of brands aimed at the beauty junkie,” she says. “What makes us different is that we’re not -- we’re reaching out to women who are what we call 'beauty curious.’ They’re open-minded to trying new things, but they know, for example, that’s just because orchid lips are hot this season doesn’t mean they should wear them.”

So far, Birchbox says it has 800,000 subscribers, 800 brand partners, and 6,500 products in the ecommerce shop.

Working with M&C Saatchi NY, she says the challenge was to craft a message that conveyed the brand’s fun, playful personality, “and to help explain how we’re different from everyone else. We’re not just a subscription company. We also think we’re the best way to discover and buy new beauty products that work best for her. Nothing we do is unattainable—we’ve got something for everyone.”

Making ads that stand out against behemoth beauty advertisers isn’t easy, she says, “but we think less about who we compete with than about how to target the non-consumer. There are a lot of women who would buy more products if they know what’s right for them -- maybe she’s a mom in a minivan and needs help finding the single anti-aging product she has time for, or the highest impact mascara. We can do that for her.”

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