A consumer’s view on Revlon’s bump app

In this guest post, Joanne Cleary explains why the Revlon bump app was a wasted opportunity.

This week I won a lipstick. Not just any lipstick, but a Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter. Might not be the most earth-shattering news, but as a young female consumer, I was tickled pink at the thought of a cosmetics freebie arriving in the mail. The lip butter came via Revlon’s lip butter bump app, developed by GPY&R Sydney’s new digital agency VML.

Rob Garratt, MD of Revlon Australasia, said: “This particular product, with Emma Stone as the Revlon brand ambassador, appeals to a younger demographic. This bump app is in line with the tone of communication as well as the target of woman this product speaks to. It’s interactive and engaging, digital, and an innovative way of sampling.”

I was intrigued, and easily won over by the concept, downloading the app as soon as I’d read the article. “Consumer-me” was rapt to get a freebie, with very little effort. Download app, find a friend, bump phones and enter details, and voila! $21.95 in value your way.

But ‘marketing me’ was disappointed that Revlon had missed an opportunity to really capitalise on what was a great idea to engage with its demographic. The problem was that beyond winning a sample, the app became redundant. The app might have looked pretty, but it was lacking in any broader brand substance, and beyond displaying a nifty range of candy looking shades, really didn’t do anything.

Two days later the allocation (of 2000 lipsticks) had been exhausted, two days later I had deleted it. That’s a pretty short life cycle for a traditionally expensive execution.

We are left with an app for an app’s sake – while it might not harm Revlon’s brand, it has not added any value in the way it connects with consumers like me.

As communications professionals we might harp on about how social extensions need to be a connection to the core brand, but all too often the execution doesn’t talk to the consumer in a way that is congruent with overall marketing strategy. In this case, Revlon’s first foray into a phone application in Australia was wasted because of this missing link – a pretty, shiny marketing ploy won’t win the hearts of consumers in the long run if there is no substance behind it.

Downloading a branded app is a unique consumer behavior – when phones are a modern prized possession, downloading an app is like inviting it into your home. It’s an extension of consumer psyche and identification- so brands need to treat is as a privilege, and deliver content that is worthy of a little square widget.

The “what’s in it for me” proposition is all too relevant, and with consumers blinded by brands trying to win their allegiance in the social world, a hook has never been more important. Revlon had this hook – a free lipstick certainly hooked me. But that’s not enough to deem it a winning brand activity. The fact is, that as a representative of its core demographic for the product, I didn’t learn anything about their brand beyond looking at a pretty colour wheel, and that’s an opportunity lost.

I compare this to the recently launched Hungry Jack’s app, which is a great example of an app with longevity and resonance to the company’s core customers. In addition to winning spot prizes off their menu, it features the obligatory store locator and detailed nutritional info for those who dare to look. Win, don’t win, there’s still a reason to give it a prized spot on your favourite device.

Buzzwords might look pretty on paper. But brands shouldn’t be rushed into developing something that won’t add long term value. Don’t do something just because it has the cool factor – you’ll have your customers reaching for the delete button and that little bit more skeptical when you are actually delivering something which speaks to them.

Joanne Cleary, 24 years old, is working on a Master’s Degree

Comments


  1. Geebung
    12 Jun 12
    11:02 am

  2. Great article Joanne! Completely agree that some companies are failing to identify their audience or grasp the nuances of social media and aren’t using apps to add value to their brand.

  3. Anonymous
    12 Jun 12
    11:40 am

  4. Who cares?

  5. Pat
    12 Jun 12
    11:45 am

  6. Completely agree, there are too many brands or products which wish to make a statement by being “active” with a smartphone application, however they seem to just get lost in translation if they can’t develop a sustainable value exchange with their consumers.

    Half Moon Bar/Restaurant in Brighton, Melbourne has created an App which I am really impressed with. Being a local Bar outside of any chain or recognised brand, they have created a marketing tool which has unlimited upside potential. Download the App, Check-In, Take Pictures, Tag Friends. It is an App which encourages the user to log their “Half Moon activity” on their Facebook accounts, and records it as they do. Half Moon are effectively tapping into their target market of 18-50 year olds. The benefit to consumers? Free Drinks and Meal Offers. This is one of the first Applications I have seen from a Bar/Restaurant which poses benefits to both consumer and venue.

  7. Gary Elphick
    12 Jun 12
    1:09 pm

  8. agree to a certain extent, love the mix up for channels but ultimately it was floored

  9. anon
    12 Jun 12
    1:15 pm

  10. “Pedantic-me” assumes she was ‘rapt’ not ‘wrapped’

  11. Logic
    12 Jun 12
    1:32 pm

  12. “A consumers view” ha! Not many ‘consumers’ could/would write a 500 word op-ed on a brands iphone app.

  13. Anon
    12 Jun 12
    2:22 pm

  14. I used to write stuff like this. Then I got a job in digital advertising.

  15. I McHunt
    12 Jun 12
    2:41 pm

  16. good points – just bait too marketing jargon that made me Zzzz at the end

  17. BB
    12 Jun 12
    3:22 pm

  18. Bagging out innovative ideas while not having a job is a great way to get into marketing…

  19. richie
    12 Jun 12
    5:05 pm

  20. Are you writing that in ‘sarcastic’ BB?

    I’d say showing insight, opinion and knowledge on a relevant topic – not to mention the ability to articulate it well – is a perfect example of how to get noticed in the industry.

  21. jean cave
    12 Jun 12
    5:37 pm

  22. Forget the App thing, calling it Butter instead of Stick . . genius.

  23. tobie
    12 Jun 12
    5:52 pm

  24. Agree.

    A Key Revlon competitor released an app around September last year – Maybelline’s FitMe finder was number 1 – part of an integrated campaign, and 2 provides an ongoing service for MNY’s foundation users with changes in season (shade changes), and the like.

    Be interesting to hear your thoughts around the benefit of this V the Revlon one off?

    http://itunes.apple.com/au/app.....56487?mt=8
    (and yes, it’s avail for android as well)

  25. CAN
    12 Jun 12
    7:15 pm

  26. A little bit of fun is getting mixed into a lot of utility conversation.

  27. Kate Rich
    12 Jun 12
    8:28 pm

  28. I think the criticism of this article is really sad. Especially those who post under Anon and Anonymous.
    Anon: “I used to write stuff like this. Then I got a job in digital advertising”. The next sentence should read “Now I just bag out people who write stuff like this”.
    BB: “Bagging out innovative ideas while not having a job is a great way to get into marketing.” Taking time to critically review a campaign or app is completely different to bagging it out. And at least Joanne puts her name to her thoughts.
    I thought it was really well written and made some very valid points.

  29. Joanne
    12 Jun 12
    10:09 pm

  30. Thanks all for the interesting feedback, quotes and comments- frankly I’d rather stimulate conversation than have no comments at all.

    tobie- i have seen the maybelline one, and very good call, it’s definitely a one up on the revlon app here in terms of interactivity. but again it is limited to one particular range- after a consumer has used their app to find their perfect match- would they continue to visit the app?

    and i actually have a job, but thanks for the concern BB ;)

  31. tobie
    13 Jun 12
    9:11 am

  32. Jo, fire me an email – I’d like to show you some case studies along the lines of these.
    tc

    tobie@abitlikethis.com

  33. Anon
    13 Jun 12
    10:15 am

  34. Kate, I wasn’t criticising, just making a comment about how things are different once you’re on the inside. I’d have written the exact same piece three years ago.

  35. Anon BB
    13 Jun 12
    9:53 pm

  36. Campaigns can be tactical and not have longevity or social integration. This isn’t a marketing must.. The point for me is that the execution (a native app) is an inefficient and problamatic way to run these types of campaigns.

    The novelty factor of the bump dictated building a native app – ‘app for apps sake’ which as the author also points out – lives on people’s devices until uninstalled, regardless of when the brand stops supporting the campaign. In digital, marketers have become used to ‘switching off’ the activity when they like, but it doesn’t work for native apps. We can’t uninstall it from people’s phones remotely.

    If run in a different way using a mobile site built in HTML5 and accessing GPS like Lynx did a while back http://vimeo.com/38710673 you could still achieve a similar effect. It worked on all Smartphones and most importantly, the campaign stops when you choose.

    Native Apps need to be supported with updated content or have ongoing utility. If not dont build something that sits permanently on a users phone!

    Using iPhone on non optimised website, forgive typos (Mumbrella: might be time?)

  37. Opinion
    13 Jun 12
    9:57 pm

  38. Different point of view about this.. Campaigns can be tactical and not have longevity or social integration. This isn’t a marketing must.. The point for me is that the actual execution (a native app) is an inefficient and problamatic way to run these types of campaigns.

    The novelty factor of the bump dictated building a native app – ‘app for apps sake’ which as the author also points out – lives on people’s devices until uninstalled, regardless of when the brand stops supporting the campaign. In digital, marketers have become used to ‘switching off’ the activity when they like, but it doesn’t work for native apps. We can’t uninstall it from people’s phones remotely.

    If run in a different way using a mobile site built in HTML5 and accessing GPS like Lynx did a while back http://vimeo.com/38710673 you could still achieve a similar effect. It worked on all Smartphones and most importantly, the campaign stops when you choose- just turn the site off or redirect it.

    Native Apps need to be supported with updated content or have ongoing utility. If not dont build something that sits permanently on a users phone!

    Using iPhone on non optimised website, forgive typos (Mumbrella: might be time?)

  39. davec
    14 Jun 12
    11:41 am

  40. Good article. It seems building a BRAND as great creative agencies and marketers used to do has been replaced by short term gimmicks via social media. COmeing up with a ‘tick’ on social media is easy, building brand loyalty is tougher.

  41. Chris Cowley
    14 Jun 12
    3:53 pm

  42. ^^ Kate Rich, well said!

    Jo, good work on the article. I wish I had more time to contribute but I thought it was well written and thought out.

    Re BB: “Campaigns can be tactical and not have longevity or social integration.”
    It still seems like a waste of marketing dollars just to make 2,000 people happy and disappoint everyone else who missed out. These kinds of things can be more damaging than good.

    Maybe they are using the app to track people’s mobile activity? *Insert conspiracy theory here*

  43. TBB
    17 Jun 12
    5:08 pm

  44. Icing on the cake for me is that the Revlon website doesn’t work properly – all the links from the homepage are incorrect.

    I emailed Revlon but the website is still wrong and they didn’t reply.

    Meh.