For over 70 years Max Factor has been selling cosmetics to women in Europe, who want to look and feel glamorous. When they first entered the Spanish market in 1938, this brand was strongly associated to Hollywood and seen as themake-up used by Hollywood stars. Initially, they drove success by their innovative products such as Pan-Cake crème(foundation), and the strong desire of the consumer’s to capture some of the Hollywood starlit. 70 years later, Max Factor still strives to associate itself to a certain degree with Hollywood, and differentiates itself by its bold, flashy and exaggerated colors and techniques. Max Factor focuses on developing products that cater to all skin tones and types, focusing on quality, trendy, affordable, healthy and toxic-free make-up. One of Max Factors strengths is parent company owner, Proctor and Gamble, P&G. With P&G, Max Factor has increased capacity to innovate, access to many distribution channels, and a wider researchand development bandwidth. This relationship has leveraged partnerships with European designers and stylists and hasopened even more distribution channels given the leverage able strength of its consumer goods collection. Annually, MaxFactor brings in $1. 2 billion USD for P&G and is a top brand in over twenty countries.
Max Factor has strong brand awareness in Spain, but there are indications of flaws in the Max Factor business and brand strategy. P&G is, generally speaking to a mass consumer-goods powerhouse, but their experience with make-up brands is limited. P&G has allocated more financial support, resources and pursued more distribution channels for their other brand CoverGirl. Max Factor has been slightly pulling away from its classical “ Hollywood” heritage associations andmore towards a funky, bright, grunge appeal. In Spain, slowing sales and growing popularity for their competition pointsto a confused and disjointed strategy. Their recent campaigns appear to have flopped; their print presence has beenlimited in magazines and the customer buying experience has been inconsistent.
The main Spanish retailer, El Corte Ingles, is a dominant distributor of Max Factor products in Spain. In the fieldobservations at mass retail stores in Spain, Max Factor occupies 2 nd row, hard-to-find and out-of-the-way locations. Inshops like Corte Ingles, Max Factor has allocated part of their sales floor to erect a makeover station; equipped withlights, a full mirror and a director’s chair. This set-up has potential to play up pampered make-over experience, butduring five field studies at two Corte Ingles’, there was no “ brand ambassador” to be found for Max Factor. Thisconfuses, given that in this industry, sales people are direct influencers and in part responsible for creating that MaxFactor glamour experience .
As web presence is becoming a norm in business, Max Factor-Spain has established its presence on websites such asTwitter and Facebook, which are popularly used by their target market. (Exhibit 2. 1. 2) These accounts have allowed MaxFactor to create a more interactive experience and engage in partnerships with other products and websites. Websites likethese offer specific information, application and color-coordinating virtual experiences, which has been very receptiveamong younger make-up users. In order to appeal to make-up enthusiasts and opinion leaders on a larger scale, Max Factor hired internationallyrenowned make-up artist Pat McGrath as the Global Cosmetics Creative Design Director to direct the new companyimages. McGrath came with 20 years of industry experience and really compliments the fashion-forward and edgy MaxFactor look with her unconventional styles, flair for the dramatic, extremes and bright color techniques. McGrath isresponsible for the “ creative design and direction of Max Factor´s color trend collections” as well as new productinnovations like the recently launched “ Xperience” product line.
The company also uses fashion and beauty magazines periodically to promote their products and new applicationtechniques. These techniques created by McGrath and a larger team of make-up artists define the newest looks for theSpanish market. The famous fashion and style magazine, ELLE, has collaborated with Max Factor annually on their competition. Each year, one winner joins this make-up team and flies internationally to promote Max Factor and ELLE in fashion shows in the UK, Italy, France and Spain. Max Factor is further partnering directly with designers to meld the full fashion and beauty look. To push sales amongtheir main young and trendy demographic later this year, Max Factor will collaborate with designers and movie star Savannah and Sienna Miller’s Twenty8Twelve clothing company, scheduled to launch their Spring/Summer 2011clothing collection exclusively with Max Factor products.