Promoting products at a mall is perhaps the most banal form of marketing in more developed countries, yet mall marketing remains a novelty in Pakistan. This is more so in Lahore, where there is a serious dearth of large shopping malls. Hence every time L’oreal organises a promotional event, hordes of women flood the modest Mall of Lahore.
The local brand Luscious Cosmetics has been picking up on the trend and organising beauty events for women every now and then. But L’oreal remains the only foreign brand to actively replicate the whole shopping experience for beauty products, which one would find abroad.
Last year the brand offered makeovers, facials, skin testing and skincare advice from their trained staff gratis, with the purchase of a product. While that mall promotion was certainly more elaborate and glamorous, this year’s event was relatively modest and sedate. The affair was low-key possibly because the brand is reducing costs since it’s also sponsoring the upcoming Bridal Week.
The purpose of the promotion is to educate women about skincare, by involving a host of specialists like cosmotologist Ujala Zia, beauty therapist Rubina Hasan and dermatologist Dr Sadia Ahmed. The experts actively interacted with women, offering them advice and prescriptions for their beauty needs. Celebrity makeup artiste, Maraam Azmat, famous for her fashion photography was also present, giving free professional makeovers.
These specialists made some important observations on the state of general knowledge about skincare. “We learnt immensely about women and their beauty regimes, or lack thereof,” spoke Hasan, who was horrified that some women do not even use facewash.
Ahmed was also shocked by the number of women who admitted to not using any sunblock. “The sun at our mothers and grandmothers’ time wasn’t as harsh as it is today,” she explained. “Although skin will tan even with a sunblock, that pigmentation is more even in tone and dissipates faster and most importantly protects the skin from sun damage.”
The marketing campaign was not merely a hit with members of the fairer sex. “A lot of men would walk in bemoaning that they should also be catered to,” informed Zia. Her comment wasn’t really off the mark; several men had flocked the place and were gazing longingly at women receiving free makeovers.
The event runs till 29th May at the Mall of Lahore where L’oreal products are also being sold at discounted rates.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2011.