• 15th October 2019

New weapon of seduction | Formes de Luxe

An emerging niche in luxury packaging, influencer kits have become an indispensable marketing tool. Revisiting the idea of limited editions and press kits, these giftsets play on sight, sound and touch to bring products to life. Brands are going all out to influence the influencer!

In a bid to boost both their sales and their reputation in today's market, beauty brands are vying to get their products into the hands of influencers and capture their imaginations. They do this by developing special coffrets, otherwise known as influencer kits. In keeping with the unboxing trend, these kits are unveiled and widely commented via Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and blogs.

The phenomenon has gathered speed over the last three to five years, and for packaging manufacturers, it has become a significant market, not so much in terms of turnover, which although exponential remains small, but for the profile high-role this type of product can play in a global offer. This developing segment is attracting new players, such as Diam Packaging, which is launching a range of influencer kits in September, using gift sets as the backbone for future brand development. Florence Dancoisne, director of European sales and marketing at Knoll Prestige Packaging, lists the particularities of this market "Very short deadlines - from one to three months, small quantities (between 100 and 1000 pieces), a high level of complexity, and direct deliveries to the final markets rather than just regional hubs." Given these constraints, a larger budget is allocated to these products.

The ins and outs of influence marketing also have to be taken into account. "It's not about buying media, but about building a relationship. The approach is very different when you think about it that way," remarks Rachel Shayne, vice president of marketing at Vivabox Solutions. For the US-based company, the essential component is not the box itself, but the experience it provides and the way it speaks to the influencer. Vivabox Solutions' full-service offer is highly competitive, from design conception to custom deliveries provided by a white-label concierge.

The technology plus

Integrating technology can heighten influencers' experiences. Indeed, these coffrets often include a video screen "allowing the brand to drive its own communication, with the screen working as kind of cheat sheet for the influencer," notes Ilan Shinazi, general manager of Diam Packaging's coffret activity. In a kit designed by Vivabox for Yves Saint Laurent's Mon Paris perfume, influencers were invited to embark on a virtual trip to Paris via a QR Code and an iPhone app.
Estée Lauder has shown commercials inside the kits of its Double Wear foundation (Vivabox) and Beautiful Belle perfume (Knoll Prestige Packaging). Thanks to a USB port, the screen can be reprogrammed, then detached and used as a tablet. Sound or light features can also be added - an area in which GPA Luxury (an entity resulting from the acquisition of MW Luxury and Lucas Luxury in the UK) excels, judging by three recent examples: The Ritual of Karma from skincare brand Rituals, Crème de la Mer and Sexy Ruby from Michael Kors. For the Ritual of Karma, thirty invitations for a party in Ibiza on a 'message in a bottle" theme were sent; sound recordings of the sea were activated by a microchip when the coffret was opened. An audio recording of waves was also used for Crème de la Mer upon lifting the flap covering a central compartment of the gift set. As for Michael Kors fragrance, the ruby red of the bottle took center stage thanks to LED lighting. Its visual impact was accentuated by a transparent lid with a lenticulat structure.
There are also a number of surprise elements that characterize the influencer kit, and which are often quite elaborate: compartments, levels, doors, and accessories that are easy to integrate into the influencer's videos. For a la Mer serum, the coffret (GPA Luxury) included packaging to "leaf through" inspired by pop-up books and water-color sketch pads. Known for its on-trend influencers kits, the Estée Lauder group has also worked with Knoll Prestige Packaging on several kits: a collapsible mirror in the central compartment, similar to a dressing table mirror, for the Desire lipstick; a small chest decorated with an original Ian Davenport painting, its contents distributed on two levels for Pure Color Envy lipstick and a jewellery box which opens like a book with a vial of solid perfume suspended by a cord for La Dangereuse by Violette, a Lauder-sponsored influencer.
What sets these creations apart is their playful dimension. The GPA Luxury kit for Rimmel mascara is one prime example: a mirror, once removed, reveals a secret compartment containing three products.
Another is the Clarins lip oil collection, displayed on a cardboard wheel similar to those on TV game shows that are spun to select a color. This trend for spectacular packaging has inspired its share of counter examples. The Sephora Collection opted for a more sober option- a cardboard tube that takes up less space and can be reused for storage (Vivabox).

Indeed, an increasing number of influencers are also taking and increasing interest in environmental issues, which must also be taken into account.

Source: Formes de Luxe, Pascale Ruchon
September 2019