Trick or Treat? Boots' Halloween Beauty Campaign

Bold, electric and totally relevant to the targeted audience - Studio takes a closer at our recent campaign with Boots.

Boots’ goal was to realign their perception as an in-touch, accessible brand that resonates with a young and dynamic audience.

More relevant content from an accessible audience - Whalar’s client desired to source a fresh pool of creators who could effectively reposition Boots into a new space. The target demographic? 16-24 year olds, who love beauty, going out, and being creative with their beauty looks. Perhaps not the traditional consumer associated with Boots as a brand, but by no means unheard of to a younger demographic, they wanted to bring this category into the forefront of their social strategy. Though relatively new to influencer marketing, a creative influencer campaign quickly revealed itself to be the perfect way to speak directly to these younger consumers.

@abbienaija

Business Objective

Their aim as a brand was centred around converting social relevance, tapping into a cultural moment and speaking directly to consumers looking for quick inspiration for Halloween looks.

A partnership that was spearheaded by the Head of Social and Brand Content, Tina Martin; this project allowed for Whalar to deepen its understanding of Boots’ brand identity. As it was our second campaign with them, we were able to intensify our focus on tapping into cultural moments; strengthening our influencer relationships as the partnership evolved.

Once the collaboration was commissioned, the client's ambitions were not only achieved, they were quickly surpassed. As ever, our industry-leading matchmaking process was a crucial factor. However what is often, if not more deciding, is brand cohesion and the understanding that Whalar’s team bring to the table of any campaign.

@heatherlinesmua

Before hearing from Boots’ Social Media Manager, we’re going to present three key statistics to offer a little clarity on the innovation behind our creative relationship.

- Total engagements have risen to over 287k, 314% higher than expected.

- The average engagement rate is 8.6% - the industry standard is 3.5%.

- Story views commissioned for this campaign were 281% higher than expected.

“Working with Whalar has continued to delight us in terms of ease and co-collaboration. We’ve seen amazing digital content created for Boots through the opportunity of working with some great content creators who we may not have discovered without Whalar. The success of the campaign is a testimony to Whalar taking time to understand our briefs, the efficiency of their vetting process to find influencers to help us to achieve our objectives and exceed benchmarks.” - Boots’ Social Media Marketing Manager, Kavita Sharma.

Components of success

At the root of these amazing results was the strength of Whalar’s commercial relationship with our clients. However, in turn, were additional creative factors that fostered our combined success.

@yellabambi

Firstly, simply taking advantage of the timing of Halloween cannot be underestimated. We know that a campaign with an event-based relationship, public or private, immediately grants content more traction. It instantly offers a point in which consumers are able to find a greater meaning and reinforce a brands significance to their lives. This is particularly true with a younger audience as they are exposed to an incredible frequency of content on a daily basis - which means a brand requires more ingenuity to cut through the noise.

Secondly, creator selection and choice of brief remain crucial. A perfect example of these two coming together is found within our collaboration with creator Elle White. Young, vibrant and dedicated to her art - Elle represents an audience that Boots would have struggled to tap into without our platform working alongside their team. As an influencer, Elle has curated a large and engaged following through producing emotive and subversive content that speaks volumes in its own right. In terms of cultural influence, creators like Elle are invaluable for larger brands who wish to reach fresh and specific audiences.

Her inclusion within this campaign was immediately and irrevocably justified as her content amassed an unparalleled 23.5k likes - equalling an engagement of 20.48%. Speaking to Elle, she highlights the importance of finding creative influence within a clear brief:

What was the inspiration behind the illustrative nature of your piece?

I go to art school, and throughout my time here I’ve researched so many graphic artists that have become my favourites - Yayoi Kusama, Leigh Bowery, Keith Harring are a few. So I am inspired by fine artistry more than traditional makeup trends. I do also get inspiration from fashion and my favourite makeup artists on Instagram that I think are doing something innovative.

Why do you think your content performed so well?

I think that audiences and followers can tell when their content creator is being disingenuous and are turned off by the limitations. I think Boots allowed me the right amount of creative freedom when it came to creating my look - even when it looked nothing like any of the briefs they sent me as a guideline. I think brand collaborations flourish when they don't limit the talent or creativity of the content creator because the creator knows better than anyone what engages their audience best.

As a campaign, what did Boots do well when they collaborated with creators?

They allowed me to do whatever I wanted creatively and I think that’s the most important thing. When brands don’t think openly when selecting influencers they are limiting their potential influence to wider audiences who may like different kinds of makeup. I really encourage Boots to continue to source more diverse creators with all sorts of different ideas and approaches.

Creative Freedom

Today, Halloween offers an opportunity for freedom of identity for younger audiences without a strict lens being focussed on them. Highly creative measures allow for individual results, which fuels engagement as audiences always respond favourably to imagery that is new and different.

@kimbouytang

Execution of the clients business plan remained fundamental, and with that comes sourcing the relevant creators. Treating each influencer as a sole-publisher is a concept we have always preached at Whalar. The reason being, it can be very easy to forget that the creators ultimately hold the key to unlocking the audience. Choose irrelevant creators, and the brand's message - however powerful - falls on deaf ears.

It is for these reasons that we can’t speak enough about the importance of authenticity.

Authenticity was clear for a number of reasons within this campaign. Each creator has an audience that knows and understands the creators brand better than anyone else. This is why branded content that does not fit a creator’s aesthetic can be quickly identified and nearly always performs less well.

However, for this campaign, the stats speak for themselves: 9 out of the 20 influencers involved in the campaign saw their pieces out-perform their usual content.

For creators such as @janet_armani, she also witnessed an incredible response to her content. Behind Janet's success was a clear understanding of the importance of harbouring synergy between brand, creator and audience:

I am always looking to create something different that will stand out - this look was a mix between a skull/clown.

I do further research & find out more about the brand itself - I love receiving a brief and reading about why they came up with a certain campaign etc. Most importantly the main thing I look for before collaborating is whether it relates to my content & audience.

I make sure that whatever I am posting is what my audience wants to see and will be interested in, most of my audience follow me because of my hair but also beauty and fashion related posts. I think it’s so important to build relationships and interact with followers so this is the main way I keep my audience engaged.”

Taking Creative Risks

Client Director Anastasia Evans worked extremely closely on this campaign and was a central component for its entirety;

We’re very lucky to have clients who allow us to push boundaries and take creative risks - and this project is exemplary of what can be achieved with both an open brief and a deeper relationship. Both we, and the influencers we partnered with, were given the resource to get deep into Boots’ broader marketing strategy, meaning everything we did on this campaign was done with a laser focus on their key objectives. We were only able to achieve such fantastic results because of that focus, our close partnership, and the continued trust of the amazing social team at Boots.

@lavababie

The success of this campaign was found in the intimate reach that effectively employed influencer marketing can provide for a large brand. However, what is also on show, is Whalar’s ability to thrive in collaboration. When a brand and platform work together, the results can be truly groundbreaking, and we can’t wait for the next step of our relationship with this remarkable brand.

At Whalar, we never limit ourselves to solutions; we bring creativity into the heart of it.

For more info about this campaign or any others please contact us via email: studio@whalar.com

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