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Here’s how South Korean skincare brand Dr Jart+ launched in the UK during lockdown

Impero won the ‘Consumer Products or Services’ category at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021 with its campaign for Dr Jart+. Here, the team behind the winning entry share the secrets of this successful project.

The challenge

Dr Jart+ had become a cult brand in South Korea through its immersive branded experiences, however these weren’t possible in the UK in the middle of a pandemic.

Instead, the situation offered an opportunity to push the boundaries of the beauty category’s creativity and disrupt the landscape by using technology to reach and engage an audience who couldn’t leave their homes.

Our objective was to launch Dr Jart+ in the UK and build a cult following around hero products in its Cicapair range by disrupting the beauty-launch landscape in the middle of a pandemic and using technology to create an immersive, digital brand experience.

The strategy

Most skincare brands talk of sensitive skin as a skin problem v product solution. They tell us the problem is with our skin, or skin type, but Dr Jart+ doesn’t believe this to be the case. Instead, our strategy asked consumers to rethink their skin and skincare by showing them that sensitivity is not a problem caused by their own skin deficiencies but by outside environmental aggressors. Unlike other brands, Dr Jart+ Cicapair helps to soothe and restore the skin’s natural barrier to fend for itself.

To bring this strategy to life in the middle of a pandemic, not only did we have to rethink the traditional beauty launch mechanic, we had to redefine how consumers would engage.

The result? A beauty launch campaign like no other.

The campaign

Consumers couldn’t attend a branded experience, so we brought the world of Cicapair to them through the power of immersive AR.

We started by collaborating with cutting-edge digital artist Rek0de, known for blending physical and digital worlds, to create a 360° film featuring the least skin-friendly place in the UK – Piccadilly Circus – with its blue light, stress and pollution.

We then brought the iconic Dr Jart+ Cicapair tiger to life as a trigger for the transformation of Piccadilly Circus from harsh to soothingly calm. With a single roar, the scene is soothed by Cicapair’s key ingredient, Tiger Grass, and you are surrounded by 3D textures inspired by each product that float above the now ethereal landscape.

To bring this experience into the homes of our consumers, we worked with BYO and used 8thwall’s web-AR capabilities to create an AR portal that consumers could launch wherever they were, and be transported to Piccadilly Circus and the Cicapair world. The experience could be accessed via QR code on any mobile device through a web browser. The QR code to the portal was first given to influencers and press, then put on retailer websites and in-store.

Over 2,000 people entered the portal to the world of Cicapair within the first two days of launch, with more than 20,000 unique visits over a two-week period.

At a time when consumers were no longer able to open up tester pots in-store or learn about the products IRL, we took their experience one step further by creating product-focused web-AR experiences for the three hero-products in the range. Each experience highlighted their unique product benefits and where the product fits into daily skincare routines. By scanning a QR code next to the products displayed in-store, the AR filter could be experienced while complying with Covid safety measures.

The results

Over the entire launch period we had over 30,000 unique visits through the AR portal into the world of Cicapair.

Our 360 film saw a 9x higher view rate over Youtube’s beauty benchmark, with doubled engagement across all social channels and record engagement for the brand on Instagram (10.47% v 5.2% benchmark)

Paid influencer content saw over 47.6m impressions (2m organic, 8.2m Instagram, 37.2m TikTok). A brand recall study revealed an amazing uplift of 85.5% (double the benchmark), with the film and portal being quoted as ‘Best in Class’ by Google.

The business impact was even greater, with Dr Jart+ becoming the #1 skincare brand in UK Earned Media Value (Feb 2021) across Estée Lauder Companies. Our retail sales delivery reached 2x the target (Jan-Mar 2021) and our hero product – the Dr Jart+ Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment 15ml – became the #12 top-selling SKU in Boots.

To date, Dr Jart+ is the first Estée Lauder beauty brand to launch a product via an exclusively digital experience, catapulting it into cult territory at a time when branded experiences had all but disappeared.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries 2021. Find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entries.

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