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‘It’s about more than selling product’: Rimmel adapts ROI metrics for first global purpose drive

Rimmel's army of beauty influencers

Rimmel has gradually shifted towards a marketing model that's more influencer-led, enlisting global stars as well as comparatively smaller beauty bloggers fronting more of its advertising. With this, the brand has noted a dramatic a rise in the number of hateful comments directed towards the people featured on its own social channels. So, in response, it has launched a global campaign to tackle cyberbullying.

To take a closer look, the Coty-owned company commissioned a report into the problem. The survey of 11,000 women aged 16-25 and discovered found that a quarter (23%) have experienced beauty cyberbullying. Over half (57%) said they'd experienced it and didn’t tell anyone. Two-thirds (67%) of those targeted online lost confidence and almost half went on to self-harm.

“We knew [online bullying] was happening but didn't know the scale of it. The research was really quite worrying,” said Sara Wolverson, vice-president of Rimmel’s global marketing.

“This is the first ‘purpose’ driven campaign we've ever run; we’ve embraced diversity, but this is the first time that we've said we want to stand for something and use our scale and reach globally to say it's not ok for this to be happening.”

The activity will span three years and has seen it forge a partnership with The CyberSmile Foundation, a charity committed to tackling online bullying.

Together the pair will launch a ‘CybersmileAssistant’ in 2019, an artificial intelligence tool that will recommend local resources, helplines and organisations that can help victims of beauty cyberbullying from the first moment they report it.

In time, the tool will roll out in different territories and in different languages.

The brand's investment into this global initiative is significant. There will be an overarching ad campaign running from mid-November, dubbed #IWillNotBeDeleted. It will be fronted by a host of influencers (shown above) as well as Rimmel ambassadors Cara Delivigne and Rita Ora.

Over the next three years, each local marketing team has been given the autonomy to invest their ad budgets into backing the campaign as they see fit.

With Rimmel’s advertising historically being product-focused, it’s used to working against a set of KPIs that are intrinsically linked to sales; if it features a new lipstick, the C-suite will be able to see sales increase.

But with this first purpose-led push it’s had to rethink the approach. Instead of sales, it will measure the campaign’s success in terms of how many people it helps.

“This isn’t about product so [ROI] is something we've been talking about. So we're assessing the earned media value we're getting, brand relevance, and awareness of the issue,” said Wolverson.

“But one of the biggest measures is how we direct more people and help more people through the CyberSmile foundation. With the AI tool, we will know how many more people we have on the website and how many we're giving more support to.”

Though it has “a view” on how many people it thinks it will be able to help, Wolverson declined to share the targets. Rimmel’s work in this space will also act a testbed for how Coty approaches purpose marketing across its suite of brands, which include Well, Hugo Boss, Max Factor and Cover Girl.

“As a global beauty company, Coty wants to contribute solutions that can positively impact prejudice and discrimination that stand in the way of self-expression and to raise awareness to affect positive changes in behaviour,” said Wolverson.

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