MAC’s claim to fame

MAC’s claim to fame

MakeUp Art Cosmetics, (MAC) has propelled to incredible heights since it’s founding in 1985. Even with a marketing strategy based solely on word-of-mouth, MAC has...

Guy Brighton
  • 6 march 2006

MakeUp Art Cosmetics, (MAC) has propelled to incredible heights since it’s founding in 1985. Even with a marketing strategy based solely on word-of-mouth, MAC has managed to rise as a global giant in the $160 Billion beauty industry. From sponsoring international fashion weeks to hosting slick celebrity powered parties, MAC has become synonymous with glamour and stardom.

Frank Toskan, 45, one of the founders of MAC, was previously a Canadian hairstylist, make-up artist and photographer. Unable to find suitable make-up that looked good and kept the skin safe under the harsh lighting used in photo and video shoots, Toskan crated his own make-up line and Frank Angelo, an entrepreneur based in Toronto gave the company the financial backing. What made this company that was born over a kitchen counter a $500 Million + business in just 16 years? Several factors– lets analyze them each.

Company with a Soul:
MAC’s cruelty-free campaign and use of recyclable packaging struck a chord with its customers early on. It’s “Bac to Mac” campaign, where a customer gets one free lipstick upon returning six empty cases of MAC lipsticks highlights the substance of this company.

From the beginning, MAC refused to subject to the stereotypical corporate image of beauty for its brand. And because MAC created make-up for women of every color, race and ethnicity, it immediately gave the brand a broader leverage and global appeal. In an interview with Jason Campbell of JCReports, James Gager, Senior VP and Global Director of MAC, sums it up, “We approach our imagery and color collections with an unconventional, original, and slightly irreverent approach to beauty. We feel everyone, being unique and individual, deserves their own colors and ideal as to what makes them feel beautiful.”

Also, MAC donates over $4.5 million a year to its MAC for Aids charity and for a while distributed condoms with the sale of its VIVA Glam lipsticks.
It’s only in the last couple of years that beauty companies have launched a tirade of environment friendly, real beauty and charity campaigns. But MAC had it right all along since 1985. Now that’s saying something.

Innovative Marketing:
The foundation of MAC’s marketing and promotion strategy was laid down early on by Toskan and Angelo.They aimed to rely on word-of-mouth advertising generated by the promotional make-up given to professional make-up artists and stylists. Since make-up artists often style actresses and models, MAC makeup stared gaining more footage. Soon TV shows, press and movies were featuring the makeup line and celebrities were giddy about their new favorite lipgloss! From there, it only snowballed!

In 1994, Estee Lauder group of companies acquired a significant share in MAC and hired John Demsey to oversee the make-up line. Continuing on the tradition set by Toskan, Demsey stuck to using his promotional and advertising budget to supply MAC products to makeup artists and fashion designers during fashion shows. Demsey also forged relationships with music and Hollywood mavens to act as official MAC spokespeople. As a result, MAC became the “professional” makeup used and endorsed by celebrities, models, music stars, professional makeup artists and stylists. The word-of-mouth promotion just snowballed from there….and soon MAC became the envy of its competitors.

Runway Dominance:
Like the designers clothes, the makeup and colors used on the model is under as much scrutiny by onlookers and trendsetters at international fashion shows. And MAC plays a major role in setting the color-palettes and makeup trends each season. MAC uses the runway to test its emerging color collections and make sure they are trendy enough for the next season. MAC’s tagline is rightly “makeup for makeup artists.” Shy only of sponsoring runway shows, MAC provides assistance for makeup teams behind the scenes for over 150 shows every year in New York, London, Milan and Paris. “Fashion is a large part of MAC’s DNA and we will always continue to be involved with the makeup artist.” Says Gager.

MAC’s rise to the title of international supremo’s in beauty was not a calculated plot or a carefully drawn out strategy. Instead, it is the story of a company sticking to its intuition, believing in its values and offering its customers exactly what they want. There’s a thing or two other beauty companies can learn from MAC. Honestly, glitzy Swarovski glad packaging and endorsements from the likes of Halle Berry only goes so far!


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