When fans become famous


Brilliance has only 8% market share in the hair colouring category, so it struggles for both share of shelf and share of mind. It had suffered declining sales since 2011. Yet client research revealed that it is the most highly recommended hair colour at 93%. But even with a ‘brilliant’ product, it lacked the emotional connection that would cut through and convert new users.

The marketing objectives were to reverse this sales decline: 2% increase in market share over the quarter year-on-year; 5% increase in sales over the campaign period; Achieve 1:1.5 ROI.

The category was stagnant, so to meet objectives, MEC needed to switch current hair colour users from competitors. The challenge was converting this advocacy into sales…with


It all started when the agency found out what women’s top 3 beauty fears were –
1. DIY bikini wax
2. Cut your own fringe
3. Colour your hair at home.

Hair colouring is high risk. Brands of hair colour are bought on past success or personal recommendation. The higher the emotional risk the more peer advice is sought. In fact over 79% of the audience trust the opinions posted online by other consumers.

Insight: Peers trump promises - this is real consumers, writing about real experiences.

Idea: Fancasting Real Experiences - The strategy was twofold: Capturing and spreading. First up, capturing the confidence fans had in Brilliance to non-users. The brand had Facebook fans, it just needed to turn them on. Secondly, spreading their faith in the product and placing in it in a trusted environment. For this MEC would use credible online beauty sites and forums - the ‘go to’ destinations for women seeking a deep level of up-to-date advice and guidance on beauty.

The conundrum with ‘reviews’ is achieving the critical mass necessary to deliver the objectives. Answering this would require not only the right media partnership but a creative real time approach to ‘broadcasting’ reviews.


Schwarzkopf activated its considerable community of fans in Facebook, over 75,000, and encouraged them to write reviews for Brilliance with the allure of making the reviewer instantly famous. These reviews were immediately checked by a community moderator, then placed across all beauty verticals (e.g. Primped, Lifestyle, Dolly…), but in an unexpected way. All existing display banners were replaced with rich media banners that automatically pulled the approved reviews in as copy. The content changed dynamically as new ones were written, creating the impression of a ‘live’ conversation. 

The authors were credited within the ads, giving the fans recognition and the reviews authenticity. The highly targeted nature of these social beauty environments encouraged further product discussion and reviews within the site. To keep the reviews coming, all traffic from the banners was directed to Australia’s premier beauty environment, Beautyheaven, where readers were encouraged to write reviews if they had used the product.

The emotional connection of real reviews, by real women, in real-time. Behavioural targeting was used to expose the consumers who showed interest for hair colour within the last 28 days, the average buying cycle.


Of the 4.4 million unique impressions received… not one of them was an “ad”. They were recommendations, collected from real product users, delivered in real time, broadcast through appropriate verticals.

Brilliance attained over 210,000 viral impressions of recommendations in beauty specific environments outside of Facebook. In two months, Brilliance saw an increase of over 650% in positive reviews. For Brilliance, share of social conversations increased 114% within the hair colouring category.

With no other media activity running over the two months of campaign period, “Fancasting Real Experiences” delivered an incredible 13.4% YOY increase in sales (smashing the client’s 5%) and market share increased +5% (far exceeding the target of 2%).

Fancasting Real Experiences delivered an astounding ROI of 295%, almost doubling the original ROI expectations of 150%; all from an initial investment of just $45,000 in media.

“We loved this unique idea that took our consumers as the real advertisers for the brand. Combining the true consumer experience and translating that into a strong series of digital advertisements was an ideal opportunity - an ideal situation." - Jodie Lynch, Marketing Manager, Henkel Beauty Care.

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Brand Owner:
November - December 2012
Media Channel:
  • FMAs shortlisted

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