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Inside Flowfushi and Wongdoody's strategy to cause a stir with Swirl lip gloss

Wongdoody won in the Design Strategy category at The Drum Marketing Awards US 2019 with its ‘Swirl launch’ campaign for Flowfushi. With the 2020 awards now open for entries, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

Flowfushi is a successful independent cosmetic brand from Tokyo, sold in drugstores all throughout Japan. The brand came to us looking to create excitement around its limited-edition spring lip gloss line, +1°C Swirl.

In a market flooded with cosmetic brands jostling for limited shelf space, Flowfushi stands out by using innovative product formulations to help break out of the traditional conservative Japanese beauty mold.

Flowfushi needed to break through the clutter of all the new product launches to get Swirl on the must-have list for fashionable women in Japan for the spring season.

The strategy

+1°C Swirl was the first lip product in Japan to add glitter and pearl to the base color with marbling effect, which was showcased through the clear glass-like package design. The signature swirl gave the product a visually distinctive look — fun to carry, wear and share on social media. And for fashionable women in Japan, how a cosmetic product looks when you pull it out of your purse is as important as how it works when you apply it.

For all the success the brand has had in game-changing product design, Flowfushi has been more function than fashion, and put the majority of its efforts toward in-retail display and some OOH.

Flowfushi wanted to leverage the iconic product design of its original Lip 38°C and reach beyond the utility of lip treatment to leverage fashion trend and reorient the product as part of the beauty-inspiration conversation — on a limited budget.

The campaign

The design solution featured the kanji character ‘uzu’ Japanese for ‘swirl’. This bold, energetic visual came to life in packaging and stood out in retail.

The marketing needed to feel as exciting as the fashion event, and to visually stand out from the homogenous beauty category. The bold, brilliant, blue and coral imagery drew inspiration from modern art and featured the bold graphic of the Japanese character for ‘swirl’ lost and found within a design that stood out from the traditional smiling beauty models.

In pop-up store design, the graphic maximized the five-story storefront billboard storefront, an impossible-to-miss beacon of the event, and inside was used in a repeated pattern on every surface of the space.

Instead of spending lots of digital and broadcast budget on banner ads and TV spots, Flowfushi generated awareness through well-placed OOH and a marquis pop-up store location in Tokyo’s most fashionable neighbourhood, which prompted much conversation on social channels.

The results

The result was two-to-four-hour waits at the pop-up store the entire week it was open, prior to release in stores. In addition, massive social chatter and unpaid blogger coverage during the pop-up event that stoked the explosive sales at launch.

All 400,000 of the limited quantity produced sold out in the first month. Within Japan’s lip category, 100k sales in one year is seen as a major success.

The project as a winner at The Drum Marketing Awards US 2019. To register your interest in 2020’s event, click here.

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