Why This Skincare Brand Hosted a Product Launch Event Featuring Virtual At-Home Facials

Algenist launched its newest product with an online DIY class. Here's what happened.

Following a short introduction and skincare lesson, it was time to apply the peel.
Following a short introduction and skincare lesson, it was time to apply the peel.
Photo: Courtesy of Algenist

Many companies have truly begun to embrace the concept of virtual events, with webinars and Zoom calls becoming the new norm. But beauty and skincare brands are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to showcasing a product launch online. Since product launches usually involve a lot of hands-on, touchy-feely, IRL interaction, it’s hard to translate that experience to a virtual event.

So in order to launch its newest product, the Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel, Algenist hosted an hourlong virtual masterclass via Zoom on June 25. The at-home facial event aimed to give attendees a crash course on the product’s innovative ingredient—blue algae vitamin C, which is pure L-ascorbic acid derived from spirulina—as well as allow them (me included) to try the peel first-hand since in-person facial appointments just aren't an option right now.

Shannon Shapiro, executive director of marketing for Algenist, explains that “you can’t really understand the full impact [of the peel] until you experience it. So we wanted to actively participate in that experience live and share with our community, which wholeheartedly geeks out on ingredients and formulas. We weren’t going to let a little social distancing stop us from this collective experience. We just had to get a little bit creative with how we executed it.”

Attendees received a package filled with all the necessary Algenist products including the peel.Attendees received a package filled with all the necessary Algenist products including the peel.Photo: Michele Laufik/BizBashBefore the class, attendees received a package filled with all the necessary Algenist products including the peel, Genius Collagen Calming Relief, Splash Hydrating Setting Mist, Genius Sleeping Collagen, and a white microfiber cloth and branded headband.

We were also instructed to have a bowl of cool water and a clean hand towel at the ready, and to show up with a freshly washed, clean face, so our skin was prepped and ready for the facial.

The class started with a short introduction about the brand and peel product, followed by a skincare lesson from New York-based esthetician Jordana Mattioli, who broke down different types of discoloration and causes of dark spots, all of which was illustrated with custom educational graphics by @serumsearch.

New York-based esthetician Jordana Mattioli broke down the different types of discoloration and causes of dark spots, all of which was illustrated with custom educational graphics by @serumsearch.New York-based esthetician Jordana Mattioli broke down the different types of discoloration and causes of dark spots, all of which was illustrated with custom educational graphics by @serumsearch.Photo: Courtesy of AlgenistNext up, the peel. (TBH, it was a little strange to apply goo to my face while trying not to stare at the Algenist ladies on the call who were doing the same. But it did give the event a more communal, personal feel.)

“We are all missing the opportunity to interact in person, so we brought this feeling into our planning and dreamt of a virtual masterclass where we could still connect and interact with one another, while also taking some time out for self-care,” Shapiro says. “Truthfully, we stepped back and asked ourselves if we should hold this launch until 2021, but we thought this product was perfect for right now in an environment where a little self-care can go a long way.”

After the peel was applied, we needed to let it work for 20 minutes. This allowed time for the brand reps—including Tammy Yaiser, Algenist’s vice president of product development—to explain more about the product and its effectiveness.

Shapiro accurately describes the consistency and look of the peel as “blue honey.”Shapiro accurately describes the consistency and look of the peel as “blue honey.”Photo: Courtesy of AlgenistOver 125 macro- and micro-influencers, journalists, content creators, makeup artists, celebrities, and estheticians attended the online class. Shapiro said she and her team were “amazed by the engagement and excitement” of the attendees and that “it was a challenge to keep up with the comments and questions.” She added that the brand is planning to adapt its product campaign content to include answers to the questions on its social media channels. In addition to the class, Algenist also partnered with a handful of creators on sponsored content collaborations for the brand’s Instagram and YouTube channels.

“The positive response to this first virtual masterclass really shows us that this is the content people want to see right now, and we are here for it,” Shapiro says, adding that the brand is planning to host a similar class for general consumers.

Algenist’s Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel ($85) aims to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation and is available at Sephora stores and on Sephora.com, as well as Algenist.com.Algenist’s Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel ($85) aims to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation and is available at Sephora stores and on Sephora.com, as well as Algenist.com.Photo: Courtesy of Algenist

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