When Zitsticka was planning to launch its latest product, the Face Map zit sticker, its brand team wanted a go-big-or-go-home type of energy to tease it.
On April 25, Zitsticka asked approximately 100 influencers to simultaneously post on Instagram Stories a teaser image of Face Map. A second, coordinated bombardment followed on May 5, the product launch day. Zitsticka has conducted influencer-led campaigns since the brand’s launch in 2019, but this was the first time it flooded social media.
The Instagram Stories instructed viewers to head to Zitsticka’s e-commerce page where they could sign up for a waitlist for the product. Michael Johnson, head of growth for Zitsticka, said he wanted followers to be intrigued by what was all over Instagram, in order to generate curiosity.
“If you are always conducting best [marketing] practices, you’re going to be average, because you’re just doing what others have been successful in. You’re waiting for someone’s [first move], in order to follow the lead, so you’ll always be a follower,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the best practices he is referring to are when brands select influencers who cater to a brand’s demographic, as well as when influencer-created content centers on them using a product, showing a product or providing some educational information. Instead, Zitsticka enlisted approximately 100 influencers who had overlapping followers to ensure that any single follower would see Zitsticka promotions several times in their social feed. For instance, the influencers included Jordynn Wynn (@Jordynn.Wynn; 77,300 Instagram followers) and Sharon Pak (@ImmBunny; 77,200 Instagram followers), friends and co-founders of hair accessories brand Insert Name Here. This was based on the marketing idea that any individual needs to see a brand or product approximately five times before becoming interested in learning more or purchasing, said Johnson.
Zitsticka specifically wanted audiences that were concentrated in New York and Los Angeles, because of a simultaneous Zitsticka out-of-home billboard campaign dotted across Manhattan and downtown Los Angeles in April and May. Zitsticka’s core customer is 22- to 28-years-old, according to previous Glossy reporting. Zitsticka also launched its first paid TikTok campaign with a video teaser of Face Map on April 25 and retargeted display ads across social media for people who visited the DTC e-commerce website.
Trying to generate buzz on social media has become a kind of arms race, with every beauty brand competing to go viral in the attention economy. Some beauty brands — most recently, Haus Labs — delete all of their Instagram feed posts to hit refresh. Others, like Peach & Lily, have tried to reverse engineer the traditional product launch strategy. In Feb. 2021, the K-beauty brand started a countdown to a product launch with educational posts and product teases rather than the usual launch-and-then-educate approach.
Zitsticka’s own approach of flooding social media with a uniform vague message to foster interest is reminiscent of when Fyre Festival promoted itself through cryptic orange Instagram posts from celebs like Kendall Jenner. Though Fyre Festival was a failure, it is well regarded that its promotion tactic, assisted by the digitally-native advertising firm Fuck Jerry, was a stroke of marketing genius.
And according to Johnson, the bombardment strategy worked. Zitsticka saw a 231% increase in its waitlist sign-ups during an eight-day period starting April 25, compared to its previous waitlist for the Por Vac clay mask in Jan. 2022. He declined to share an exact number of signups but said it was in the several-thousands range. Additionally, Zitsticka’s website attracted 57% more website visitors on April 25. The brand has since sustained an average of 30% new visitors, compared to April 2021, when the brand saw its second-biggest influx of visitors in its history. Overall, the April 25 tease reached over 1.7 million impressions across Zitsticka’s paid media efforts.
Johnson noted that, although the campaign was focused on sign-ups for Face Map, there was an added benefit of raising brand awareness to support Zitsticka’s expansion into Target, which happened in Jan. 2022.
“Our main retail objective around the teaser campaign was to build brand awareness by executing a full 360 [degree strategy] for the consumer to see ZitSticka throughout their day,” said Kate Festa, senior director of retail marketing at Zitsticka. Festa added that the 360-degree campaign provides longer-term brand recognition for when customers are later shopping at Target.