For the first time, MAC Cosmetics is diving face first into a user-generated digital strategy. The beauty brand is featuring one of model Winnie Harlow’s own Instagram posts—an image of her recreating one of drag queen RuPaul’s looks from 1994—as the highlight of its latest Viva Glam campaign. Here’s what the move might do for MAC Cosmetics and the influencer industry as a whole.
Not only will Harlow’s image, which she first organically posted to Instagram last year, serve as the primary imagery for the campaign, it will also adorn lipstick tubes, in-store signage, billboards, double-decker buses, bus shelters, print campaigns in select lifestyle magazines, and digital and social efforts. In the past, MAC Cosmetics has demonstrated an interest in Instagram, with strong performance on the platform and a top position as one of the most mentioned brands by influencers, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty.
But with the rise of skincare, Instagram interactions for color cosmetics brands tracked in the study, including juggernauts like MAC, declined for the first time last year. Featuring raw content straight from the platform for one of its most popular campaigns might give MAC a chance to make up for lost engagement. In addition to gleaning interest from Harlow’s 5.8 million followers, the campaign is catchy as it builds up the lowly influencer as someone who not only endorses brands, but builds them. Regardless of what Harlow’s intentions were when she first posted the image, the result of her efforts might also indicate a positive effect from the new way influencers are packaging themselves.