Mac Cosmetics Case Study

What you will find in this Case Study?

  1. About M.A.C Cosmetics
  2. Let’s start at the beginning?
  3. Timeline of M.A.C Cosmetics
  4. Brand Quintessence
  5. Branding Strategies of M.A.C
  6. A.C’s presence in the Social Media
  7. Facebook Marketing
  8. Twitter Marketing
  9. Instagram Marketing
  10. YouTube Marketing
  11. Content Marketing
  12. Public Relation
  13. Multichannel Marketing via Direct Mail and QR codes
  14. Mobile Marketing
  15. MACnificent Me Campaign
  16. Conclusion

About M.A.C Cosmetics

“All Ages, All Races, All Sexes”, this is the motto for one of the fastest emerging cosmetics brands in the world, M.A.C Cosmetics. M.A.C celebrates diversity and Individuality. For M.A.C makeup-artists and M.A.C users, this motto is not just words it is truly what drives the culture of this stunning Company.

M·A·C is at the vanguard of fashion TrendSetting, collaborating with leading talents from fashion, art and popular culture. M.A.C artists set trends backstage at fashion weeks around the world.

In this case study you will find every aspect of what makes MAC Cosmetics; ‘M.A.C’ being its products, its location, its brand image, or its remarkable price range is unique and goes contrary to most typical marketing methods.

Let’s start at the beginning?

Makeup Art Cosmetics (M.A.C) was established in Toronto (Canada), 1984 by the makeup artist and photographer, Frank Tosken and the beauty salon owner, Frank Angelo.

They found that cosmetic products had a little color payoff that were not performing well under the intense surroundings of studio lights & moisture. Their aim was to develop a studio line makeup line that met their professional needs.

Their first customers were Fellow makeup artists, models, and photographers. With every color, every magazine and every word of mouth their popularity grew and in 1984 a single kiosk in a department store was opened.

In 1995, the Estée Lauder Companies bought a percentage of the M.A.C and it helped the brand much in becoming global. Currently, M.A.C Cosmetics has over 1,000 locations around the world. M.A.C continues to fulfill the needs of its users by launching new categories of products frequently.

M.A.C is one of the world’s leading producers and markets of quality skincare, makeup, and fragrance and hair care products.

Timeline of M.A.C Cosmetics

Brand Quintessence

  • Product: MAC products are colorful, bold, and custom. It caters to its target market by offering products for all ages, sexes, races, socio-economic groups and also available in cutting-edge seasonal lines.
  • Environment: Backstage makeup studio, Diverse, Professional.
  • Behavior:  involves low-pressure, cooperative, expert assistance, reliable, playful.
  • Communication: Word-of-Mouth, SEO (Search engine optimization), Social Media, Print & Outdoor advertising Public Relations.

Branding Strategies of M.A.C

Product Differentiation Strategy
  • Develop different blends of pigments to match customer’s needs in the international market.
  • Develop different durability/intensity of pigments and viscosity to meet PRO versus users/ customer needs.
  • Permanence of long lasting pigments and pretty large product sizes.
  • Distinct packaging and limited edition.
Pricing Strategy
  • Consumer benefit > cost
  • Brand extensions justify premium “skimming” price
  • Multi-segment Pricing
  • Focus on customer loyalty
  • Cost of switching
  • Complementary Products
Promotional Strategies

Word of Mouth:

  • Free products for professionals, celebrities and media
  • Builds credibility, awareness

Motivating Action Communication:

  • “Back to M.A.C” – Rewarding top performers, motivating high potentials
  • CRM

Social media:

M.A.C’s presence in the Social Media

M.A.C Cosmetics was revealed as the runaway leader, leading the colour cosmetics sector due to the all-in-one integration between its social channels and brand website. It uses social media marketing in order to accomplish marketing communication and branding goals.

M.A.C covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos and images for marketing purposes. Each channel has its own unique environment and voice, its business’ core identity stays consistent.

Its objectives are:

Facebook Marketing

M.A.C promotes its latest products illustrated with beautiful swatches on Facebook. It offers information about products and promotes its events. It has 16.2 million Likes and 16 million followers on Facebook.

M.A.C specialized and has chosen its target audience specifically. After publishing its content, it never disappears but stays available to its audience. That means it consistently publishes content and participates in conversations.

Twitter Marketing

Twitter is the social media marketing tool that allows M.A.C broadcast its updates across the web. It follows tweeters in its industry or related fields, and it gained a sound stream of followers in return. It has massive 1.31 million followers on Twitter.

M.A.C mixes up its official-related tweets about specials, discounts, and news updates with some fun and quirky tweets spread. It always retweet when a consumer has something nice to say about it, and never forgets answer people’s questions when possible.

Instagram Marketing

For M.A.C, product highlights and anticipation drove immense engagement with 12.8 million followers on Instagram. M.A.C featured several images of products from a Ruby Woo dipped in glitter collection. Many of these images used filters designed to evoke a glittery feel, adding to the overall visual of the collection. One of these images earning over 44.6K engagements.

MAC, like several other names on this list, has an advantage in that its products tend to have colorful, eye-catching designs. The visual appeal of the products themselves makes them stand out in users’ feeds, with bright, vibrant colors directly appealing the eye in Instagram’s polished timeline

YouTube Marketing

M.A.C has an own YouTube channel with 360K subscribers, where it uploads make-up and campaign videos. YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, with can be an amazingly powerful social media marketing tool. MAC focuses on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These videos are professional make-up tutorials.

Content Marketing

M.A.C is offering valuable information that its ideal customers find exciting. It is frequently uploading professional makeup videos and tutorials. It created a variety of content by applying social media images, videos next to classic text-based content. It links to outside articles as well. Linking to outside sources improves belief and loyalty, and it even gets some links in return.

Public Relations

Apart from digital & traditional media, MAC regularly gives out new launched products. M.A.C Cosmetics will continue to build awareness in the community by publishing articles in different Medias and educating the public. Search for cosmetics or any beauty related term on the Internet and you can see M.A.C all over the Internet.

Multichannel Marketing via Direct Mail and QR codes

M.A.C Cosmetics launched a new campaign that combines direct mail with mobile marketing. Many times, retail stores will use direct mail to reach out to potential customers or distribute rewards coupons to customers enrolled in their loyalty programs.

M.A.C took a little different approach with this recent campaign. To say thank you for recent customers, M.A.C. has created a postcard with a friendly note and a scan-able QR code. Customers can easily view a series of tutorial videos related to its products and access tips and tricks from professional makeup artists on how to make the most of their recent purchases.

Mobile Marketing

M.A.C’s new promotion campaign includes a new phone application that will make the M.A.C make-up world more accessible to all consumers who own Smartphone’s.

The M.A.C phone application has feature icons for the M.A.C shop, new products, today’s obsession, what’s hot now, and a shopping cart. By creating  M.A.C phone application customers will be able to shop whenever and wherever they are.

MACnificent Me Campaign

The MACnificent Me campaign consists of six videos. Each video includes an everyday person, who has been chosen by MAC Cosmetics to participate in the MACnificent Me campaign. The videos range from 1m 30s to 2m 30s. On the campaign website, each participant has a microsite, where photos, inspirational quotes appear along with the video.


The MAC cosmetics brand has experienced great success by evolving to stay significant, developing effective positioning in terms of core values, brand personality, advertisement and customer relationships as well as constantly delivering the brand promise over time.

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Ten years ago, “inner beauty” marketing might have seemed like a revolution. We applauded brands like Dove for going beyond conventional and superficial expectations. Today, however, this advertising tactic has developed its own tropes. Everyone uses the word “real,” retouching is taboo, and women of all shapes and ethnicities appreciate their external flaws.

As forward-thinking as these campaigns try to be, many of them still stick to the script of aspirational advertising; the faces and bodies all seem to blur together at this point. So when MAC Cosmetics was ready to launch MACnificent Me, a year-long user-generated content campaign, it decided to rip that script to shreds.

Last year, MAC challenged Hush, the agency behind the campaign, to give consumers a platform for personal, emotional self-expression without relying on photography. Instead of asking fans to publicly submit photos of their favorite eyeshadow look or #BestAngle, Hush built a microsite and invited users to submit a mantra that “illustrated their style, heart, and soul,” along with a private 100-word essay and photo.

“We suggested something that’s never been done: a UGC makeover campaign that doesn’t have ‘before’ images to choose winners,” Hush’s creative director, Jodi Terwilliger, explained. “We proposed user-generated messages of positivity and self-empowerment that would ultimately lead to winners who would be made over.”

After submitting an inspirational mantra, users could further personalize their entry by choosing from a set of fonts, designs, and colors. The interactivity and positivity of the site no doubt led to incredible engagement. Seventy thousand people supplied a total of 100,000 mantras. And on average, visitors spent more than eight minutes checking out the existing mantras.

Dan Rodriguez, director of client engagement for the campaign, noted that the unique user experience may have contributed to time spent on the site. Users could type their mantras before creating an account and submitting, which meant “participants felt some degree of connection and investment in the campaign before reaching those traditional barriers to entry.”

The streamlined user experience encouraged mobile interaction as well: 70 percent of users interacted with the contest using their mobile devices. But how had they arrived at the contest in the first place?

“While the campaign leveraged all the expected paid, owned, and earned channels, a majority of traffic came direct and from social,” Rodriguez told me via email.

Surprisingly, director of production Katie Hepp wouldn’t classify the microsite as mobile-first. “The design process started with desktop, but we were always considering the mobile implications,” she explained.

MAC has a history of out-of-the-box partners, from 19-year-old pop star Lorde to 93-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel. RuPaul was the face of MAC in 1995, and Nicki Minaj designed a Viva Glam line. For this campaign, MAC selected six fans from around the world, inviting them to New York City where they would participate in a photo shoot and become the faces for MAC’s fall 2015 makeup campaign.

The six new MAC representatives documented their experiences through video journals that now live on the campaign’s microsite. Wearing outfits and makeup fit for Alice’s Wonderland, the winners each wrote their mantras on a chalkboard wall.

Throughout the campaign, MAC and Hush fittingly colored outside the lines of most inner-beauty content initiatives. “I don’t like marketing in general,” James Gager, MAC creative director, once told i-D. “People see through things that are marketing driven.”

As Ji Won Kim, one of the six finalists, wrote as her mantra: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” If MAC ever needed a mantra for its marketing, that would undoubtedly be it.

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