Smashbox cosmetics, a brand acquired by one of the industry leaders, Estée Lauder, recently adapted a modern VR approach showing viewers a photo studio, where it was born. Let’s see how positioning their brand in such a unique and modern way helped them to stand out in digital and boost makeup product sales. 

Keeping abreast of the latest digital marketing trends, Smashbox soon relaunches their website to post more video content and showcase a new virtual makeup tool to let people virtually swipe on all kinds of beauty products they offer. To mark this redesign they jumped on the VR bandwagon, joining a lineup of brands that already adapted the new technology.

SmashBox Virtual Reality

In a new 360-degree video they invite users inside Smashbox Studios, the place, where the brand was born. An array of iconic photo sessions have been shoot in this 25,000-square-foot space in Culver City, Los Angeles since 1990 and then published in leading glossy magazines from Vanity Fair to Rolling Stones. Now the brand proudly carries its name.


VR spices up the old behind-the-scenes approach to videos

Behind-the-scenes approach isn’t new, it’s a tried and true way to showcase a somewhat hidden life of a brand. However, with virtual reality technologies and 360 storytelling it gets way more exciting, because the viewers feel like they’re inside the place, physically present, and that’s a whole new level of interaction and engagement with a brand.

For Smasbox, however, their latest 360-degree video isn’t just another behind-the-scenes tour created to prove that they know how to shoot a fashion editorial. It’s a travel to a place the beauty brand originally came out from. As Ginny Chien, executive director of global digital and consumer marketing at Smashbox, says, it’s their way to show the audience that their “history is authentic as this studio brand”. So, how they managed to do that with just a 3-minute clip?


Why a 3-minute round of the Smashbox Studios is enough to fall in love with it

In an era of digital excess it’s hard enough to grab viewers’ attention and keep them entertained, especially when it comes to a branded content. Smashbox, however, seems to find a way to charm the audience with this quick VR studio tour.

Photographer Davis Factor and Lori Taylor Davis, the brand’s global lead makeup artist, together with models showing what their ultra fashionable life is like on a daily basis. They transfer viewers from one room of Smashbox Studios to another to take a glimpse at three behind-the-scenes photo sessions with models. Smashbox products are gently fit in the video: you see how Lori Taylor Davis applies some final touches for a models before the action with brand’s bestselling products.

SmashBox Virtual Reality

SmashBox Virtual Reality


So, instead of an outright advertising they use more like a teaching approach to raise brand awareness among consumers through telling more about the brand, product information and its heritage, as Ricardo Diaz, executive digital director at Omelet and creator of the video admits. “They want to get the history story out in non-cheesy way. It’s more than makeup – it’s a photography studio,” he adds.

The video will be published both on YouTube and Facebook and also cross-promoted on other social media channels like Twitter and Instagram. What is more, they will send Google Cardboard viewers to 400 influencers and its sales associates (Sephora and Ulta) as a gesture of appreciation and an invitation to celebrate the forthcoming rebrand this fall by learning more about Smashbox business.

According to Greenlight VR, 53% more likely buy from brands using VR than from those who doesn’t. So, including virtual reality activities into digital marketing strategies seem to be a reasonable move for brands. For Smashbox this 360-degree storytelling video is just a first dip into VR. As a beauty brand, which doesn’t promote itself through printed advertising, it’ll continue to intensify their digital efforts, using modern technologies and introducing Smashbox products to newer and younger audiences. And there’s a high chance that it will pay off.

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