Branding and Marketing Review: Le Rouje de Paris by Jeanne Damas
Hello! It’s 2019 so I thought I’d try out a new series on the blog: reviewing the marketing and branding of new campaigns and product launches! I get so excited when I start seeing teaser posts on Instagram that it seemed like the perfect thing to write about, plus these types of blogs will be really pretty, related to my areas of expertise and if I’m interested in it someone else has to be, right? I have a sneaky feeling these are going to quickly become my favourite type of blog.
Le Rouje de Paris
I thought I’d start with a recent favourite launch of mine, Le Rouje de Paris! The launch of this five-piece collection, four lipsticks and a palette containing all four colours, was elegant but really quite simple at the same time, a strategic ploy to give an effortless vibe that nods to its French roots, as well as its mother-brand, Rouje. Jeanne Damas, the Parisian muse, author, genuine babe and founder of Rouje, is renowned for being a great lover of lipstick (a girl after my own heart) so it made sense to firstly, create a beauty line and secondly, start with the mouth. In fact, her look is so coveted that if you google ‘Jeanne Damas’ ‘lipstick’ is the third search term, coming only after ‘age’ (* frown-y face *) and ‘wiki’. Rouje know their customer and they've created the product that she’s been asking for.
Branding & Packaging
Le Rouje opted for a simple colour palette of a peachy-nude and gold, with the gold mostly being used in the product casing and then as a secondary colour against the peach. The gold indicates a vintage type of glamour that we’ve come to expect from timeless French style and the Rouje brand. The lipstick tube itself has vertical ridges that, while being another nod to vintage (like this Cartier lipstick holder of Audrey Hepburn’s, recently auctioned at Christies - check out the whole lot if you have time, it’s lovely) but they also make the product easy to open one-handed; ideal for the on-the-go, no-effort make-up of a Parisian girl. It should be noted that the vintage-style tube is also uncannily similar to Charlotte Tilbury’s lipsticks; the most notable difference being Tilbury’s rose gold tube to Le Rouje’s yellow gold. I can’t tell if this is simply an overlooked point, a strategic effort to position the new line in amongst other luxury products or an acceptance that the two products simply look similar… what do you think? Regardless, the gold case is striking against the collection’s four colours: Jeanne, a bright blue-red; Lamia, a soft plum with a hint of brown; Camille, a deep red, also blue; and Emilie, a pink-nude. These colours show that not only do Rouje know their customer (these are Damas’s most worn looks so you’d assume they’re her most asked-for lipstick recommendations) but that they also have the confidence to start with a small number of products. When Rouje launched their original clothing collection in 2016, they did so with only 20 pieces: “[It’s a] small collection because it’s important for me that I like every piece and can wear it in my everyday life,” said Damas. While also continuing with their brand vibe of simple, Parisian-cool, this five-product strategy also allows Le Rouje to create future excitement, press and commercial opportunities with new additions to the collection, such as new colours, finishes and even entirely new products like mascara and blush (fingers crossed!).
The structure of the packaging box is similarly classic and practical. It features a single block of the peach-nude in an uncoated heavy weight stock with small touches of gold, including the Rouje logo, in a surface debossed foil. Très timeless. Like the ridges of the lipstick tube, the stock and debossing is both unfussy and gives a pleasing weight and texture to the product, adding to that effortlessly luxurious vibe. Each purchase also comes with a complimentary satin pouch in Le Rouje’s primary coral colour. This extra, which is also available to purchase seperately, is not dissimilar to the Glossier Pink Pouch in its idea but it unfortunately lacks the thoughtfulness of Glossier; both in its manufacture (the 100% polyester of pouch clashes with the elegant, vintage feel of both the Rouje brand and the Le Rouje line) and in its lack of multi-purpose functionality in contrast to Glossier’s bubble wrap pouch. I’d be delighted to receive one with my purchase of a new lipstick but what use it has beyond initial excitement, I’m not sure.
As always, Rouje’s photography is the loveliest. The ‘street-style’ shots that appear largely untouched and are captured predominantly in natural light have three main functions for the Le Rouje brand: firstly, they make sure the beauty line is unmistakably in the Rouje family by using the same style of photography as their parent-brand; secondly, the grainy quality of the shots, featuring diverse faces with natural hair and almost-unruly brows, hints at the vintage, timeless style of both the product and the French woman; and finally, these shots echo the candid, Instagram-ready photography that Damas herself is so well known for and, by using this style, Le Rouje make sure that Damas’s following know that they too can achieve that look. Bravo, Le Rouje!
Like it’s branding, the beauty line’s marketing was simple but effective too with just five teaser posts within a month of the official announcement, a short launch video, an interview with beauty-bible Into The Gloss and just enough quirks to keep this girl happy.
Rouje used their Instagram and Damas’s to hint at their launch, with just five posts in the run-up to 1 December. Le Rouje kept it characteristically cool by posting pictures of French style icons like Vanessa Paradis, using emojis (🔜💄💋) instead of copy and not actually keeping the launch a secret at all. Instead the responded ‘Yes!’ to everyone who guessed that a Rouje lipstick was on its way. The small, two-minute film celebrating the launch was debuted exclusively on Vogue Paris. This positioned the new beauty brand firmly in the luxury product category as well as allowing Le Rouje to be seen by their ideal target market: women, between 18 and 65, with an interest in fashion, beauty and luxury, and with mid to high disposable income. The film was directed in a new-wave style which not only speaks to the romantic and vintage vibes of the brand but is also super meme-worthy! So, the film and its stills are likely to be shared and reach even more potential customers!.
To soft launch Le Rouje, Damas also did a ‘Top Shelf’ interview with Into The Gloss where she discussed her skincare routine, her favourite make-up products and her approach to hair and body care in general. The interview, which includes a candid photoshoot of Damas applying makeup, predominantly lipstick, in her Paris apartment, had been requested by ITG readers for a long time. This too, was a brilliant way to reach an ideal market for Le Rouje de Paris; female, 16 to 40, interested in new products and already coveters of Jeanne Damas’s style. And the quirk? The logo colour on the Rouje website changed from black to Le Rouje de Paris’s signature coral-nude colour. The seventies-inspired font used for the brand is already soft and curvy; now, in the colour of their lipstick collection, the logo looks like a kiss for the page! Perfect!