How L’Oréal Canada Changed The Game And Became The Bravo TV Of The North

Marie-Josee Lamothe hadn’t planned on becoming an executive producer. The CMO and CCO of L’Oreal Canada was at home in the world of retail and beauty products, but she’d never before considered creating a web series as part of her job description. But Rogers Media had just approached Lamothe with a standard sponsorship deal for the reality competition series “Canada’s Got Talent,” and all she could think was: “Why sponsor a show if we can just do one ourselves?”

And just like that, L’Oréal’s original web series “Canada’s Best Beauty Talent” was born. The six-episode series highlighted hair and makeup artists using cutting-edge techniques to create looks in weekly challenges. The products they used came from the L’Oréal family of brands, but the show’s emphasis was on how the experts designed and created their masterpieces. L’Oreal’s products weren’t the star of the show, but they proved an awesome supporting cast.

Before long, the bold move — executed in partnership with Rogers Media — delivered results that exceeded Lamothe’s expectations: over 370,000 video impressions, a 46 percent increase in Twitter followers, and a 52 percent increase in Facebook fans. Simultaneously, the series allowed L’Oréal to promote multiple brands on multiple platforms, as they leveraged the series through television, radio, mobile, print, and social media to appeal to their main two constituencies: consumers and beauty professionals.

“We thought this was certainly a great way of achieving an internal goal, which is firstly connecting with both of these communities on a multi-platform basis to give them access to our brands,” said Lamothe, “and secondly recognizing the talent in Canada and therefore promoting the industry.”

While L’Oréal had partnered in the branded content space before — notably with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) — this level of integration was new to them. As a result, Lamothe’s team gained crucial insights into their customers.

“We knew that mobile was big, but I was surprised by the percent of viewers that came from mobile platforms,” she said. Twenty-two percent watched the webisodes on an iPhone or iPad.

L’Oréal also found that some viewers watched each new webisode when it was first released, but “most would wait a few weeks and then watch it several episodes in a row, so it was batch viewership,” Lamothe said.

They’ll take those notes and apply them to future campaigns, like L’Oréal’s next big branded content endeavor, “Bollywood Star.” The partnership between L’Oréal Paris and OMNI Television will also be a multi-platform reality series that features aspiring actors competing to win a role in a Bollywood film. The idea aligns with L’Oréal Paris’ “red carpet marketing” strategy and targets the growing Southeast Asian community in Canada.

“We associated L’Oréal Paris with TIFF because it’s the biggest red carpet event in Canada,” Lamothe explained. “‘Bollywood Star’ is replicating the same, but for a community that is very culturally-rich and growing in Canada.”

This is all fitting with Lamothe’s theory that branded content “has to be relevant, of interest to the community and your brand. It has to be a natural fit.”

“It has to be — some people call it authentic,” she said. “I call it genuine.”

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