Early on in the pandemic, Hawaiian Tropic tried to comfort marooned consumers with Beachside Inside, a scented candle that offered a little mental escape. A year in, it's expanding the idea, with a contest to win one of its new escapist bath bombs -- and a real live getaway.
The goal, says Heather Choe, Hawaiian Tropic's brand manager, is to offer beach-deprived consumers a little bit of self-care -- "and remind them that sunscreen is essential year-round, even in February."
The bath bombs are made with the same ingredients the company's sunscreen is, meant to nourish and protect skin, including Vitamin E, coconut oil and essential oils. For a chance to win one of the 500 bombs, consumers need to comment on the brand's Instagram page with a dream vacation destination. And one lucky winner gets "A Golden Bath Bomb," which gets them a luxury vacation for two.
The brand's core customers are typically Gen Z or millennials and devoted to wellness, skin, health and beauty. "And she loves to be outside, and wants to make sure she's protected when she's out in the sun," says Choe.
But beyond the SPF basics, the brand is noticing fundamental changes in the way these young women think and talk about skin. As COVID-19 has kept them indoors more than they'd like, "consumers want to explore what it means to be good to themselves. Is that protecting your skin from the sun? Is it taking a moment to relax in a bath? The point is, they are promoting different ideas about taking care of yourself."
Choe says the brand is also detecting the change in product reviews and on social media. "We'll post something like, 'Hey, take a moment, relax. Here's a soundscape to meditate for a minute,' and our customers like it."
Even two years ago, a promotion about bath bombs might have seemed fluffy or frivolous. "Now, it's about caring for your skin, your mental state and your emotional wellbeing."
Hawaiian Tropic, owned by Edgewell Personal Care, is promoting the bath bombs on its channels and with "skinfluencers."