Estée Lauder embarks on out-of-this-world marketing with NASA

Beauty brand Estée Lauder has launched its product, the Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Multi-Recovery Complex serum, into space. This is done in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). According to a press release, it is the first beauty brand to participate in NASA’s efforts to enable business opportunities on the International Space Station. The product is slated to arrive at the International Space Station on 3 October 2020. Once arrived, it will be photographed in the space station’s cupola window to create images for use on Estée Lauder’s social media platforms.

This collaboration comes as NASA looks to open the International Space Station to businesses as part of the agency's efforts to enable a robust low-Earth orbit economy, according to Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA headquarters. He added that such collaborations directly supports NASA’s overall strategy to facilitate the commercialisation of low-Earth orbit by demonstrating new markets utilising the unique environment of space. Stéphane de La Faverie, group president, The Estée Lauder Companies and global brand president, Estée Lauder, said it is "thrilled" to be the first beauty brand to go into space. "“NASA is at the forefront of space exploration, and as a leader in skincare innovation, Estée Lauder is proud to support the incredible work NASA is doing to promote a space economy by being the second-ever commercial product to launch," he added.

Estée Lauder chose to launch its Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex because the brand found it iconic. In 1982 it was the first nighttime repair serum in the beauty industry and the first beauty product to use hyaluronic acid. Now, over 30 years later, it is the first serum to launch into space. In its recent report in June, the brand recorded a net sales of US$14,294 million, a slight dip from its sales in 2019 (US$14,863 million), but an increase from 2018 (US$13,683). Estée Lauder also said it would be increasing brand awareness and sales through a strategic emphasis on technology. It will also continue to elevate its digital presence encompassing eCommerce and m-commerce, as well as digital, social media and influencer marketing.

"We have opportunities to expand our brand portfolio online around the world, and we are investing in and testing new omnichannel concepts in the United States, China and other markets to increase brand loyalty by better serving consumers as they shop across channels and travel corridors. We have dedicated resources to implement creative, coordinated, brand-enhancing strategies across all online activities to increase our direct access to consumers," the beauty brand said. 

This is not Estée Lauder's first brush with technology. Back in 2018, it launched “Estée Wonderland” pop-up counters for Christmas, which featured Quantum Human, an automated AI scan-to-avatar technology that allowed customers to create their own 3D avatar.

The Estée Wonderland pop-up counters also feature a carousel, and customers were also able to include their created avatar in a 22-second virtual reality movie with a fairy-tale setting that showcased the company’s best-selling projects. Estée Lauder said then, that the Quantum Human automated AI technology took eight years of research and development effort. It also brought the expertise in creating virtual characters, previously reserved for Hollywood productions, to everyone in the city.

Using space as a marketing platform is not an entirely new concept. In 2017, KFC partnered with space tech company World View to launch its Zinger chicken sandwich to the edge of space and then brought it back. According to a press release then, the mission pushed the boundaries of space exploration and was said to be the longest controlled-stratospheric-balloon flight with a commercial payload.

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