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Breaking Down Glossier Play’s Launch Strategy

Breaking Down Glossier Play’s Launch Strategy

As brand strategists, our day-to-day often consists of reverse engineering some of our favourite brands. There is never a one-size-fits-all strategy, but the practice can spark inspiration.

Like many self-professed skincare and beauty-obsessed Millennials, we love everything Glossier. Founder and CEO Emily Weiss turned the industry upside down when she launched one of the first beauty brands born out of digital media; a Millennial pink empire that quite literally crowdsources their products from the wants and desires of customers. Today, the 5-year old brand has a cult-like following of loyal customers tweeting, posting and commenting, praising everything about the brand and its products.

The success of the Glossier universe is multi-faceted, but in today’s post we want to focus on the launch of Glossier Play. Because if there is one thing Team G knows how to do really well, it’s making an entrance.

Introducing Glossier Play

Glossier Play, a brand of ‘dialed-up beauty extras’ and the first sister-brand to OG Glossier, launched with a collection of 4 products (Colorslide, Vinylic Lip, Niteshine and Glitter Gelée), 28 shades, and two tools (Blade and The Detailer) as part of their mission “to democratize beauty and bring a sense of freedom to how you look, act, and feel.”

Launch Timeline 

The below is our interpretation of the Glossier Play launch timeline, based on timestamps from social media posts, emails, and Google search results.

Glossier is no stranger to building hype. Arguably their most amped-up launch, this time was no different. The entire campaign centred on mystery as fans wondered ‘are they launching a line of sex toys?’ The internet went wild. As a campaign that sought to stir up chatter, it makes sense that most of the conversation took place on Twitter. 

The campaign spanned 11 days from the first tease post on February 22nd 2019, with an official launch on March 4th 2019. I suspect the campaign was meant to take place over 7 days and was delayed (there have been rumours of this on Reddit). Glossier leveraged cross promotion from Emily Weiss, their OG social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) and their email following. All ‘teaser’ posts led fans towards the brand new @GlossierPlay Instagram account一where most of the fun was taking place. On launch day, in typical Glossier fashion, a brand advocate campaign was revealed, with the likes of Troye Sivan, Donte Colley, Noor, Oyinda, and the list goes on.

After unpacking the week (and a half) long launch, we feel there are 4 key takeaways to learn from.

#1 Marketing a Feeling

Everything Glossier Play touchedーfrom the logo to the teaser posts to the campaign videos, felt like you were living your best life, readying for a night out. There were disco balls, dancing, glitter, and the feeling of motion. The brand’s tagline “...We believe the best part about going out is getting ready” ties the product to this very emotional experience and sparks an immediate connection with customers. 

It’s easier said than done, but if you can succeed in creating this deep, natural connection between your product and a positive emotional experience many can relate to, your brand will be better for it. 

#2 The Importance of Foreplay

Glossier didn’t have to overdo it. They know they have a loyal cult following online, and were able to get fans and media in hysterics following their first tease post. They gave the campaign breathing room, keeping everyone on their toes. Their audience did the talking for them as we all desperately tried to solve the ‘Glossier Play’ mystery. 

A ‘tease’ or ‘pre-launch’ phase is important as it drives your audience through step one of the customer journey so that everyone turns up come game day. Don’t get stuck solely thinking about launch day when the pre-launch (and post-launch) is just as important. Which leads us to our next point.

#3 Goals First, Planning Second

The Glossier Play launch can visibly be divided into three phases. Each phase had its own objective, strategy, and messaging. 


Objective: build the @GlossierPlay Instagram following

Strategy: leverage @Glossier @EmilyWeiss and fans to drive people towards the new Instagram account

Story or message: *new* brand coming soon


Objective: drive people to the website

Strategy: campaign ambassadors raise brand awareness and drive their audience to the @GlossierPlay Instagram account, where they are directed towards Glossier.com/Play

Story or message: drum roll and *intro* Glossier Play as your new favourite beauty brand for a night out

Post Launch

Objective: build the brand in the wild to encourage purchase

Strategy: showcase Glossier Play on real people i.e. ambassadors, advocates and customers

Story or message: all the different faces and ways you can wear Glossier Play

Set your goals first. Each objective will inform which channels you should use, where customers are ‘led’, and what story you tell.

#4 The Power of Cross Promotion

As you may have noticed, a key strategy throughout the whole campaign was the use of cross-promotion. Glossier leveraged both their own accounts as well as their brand ambassadors’ to get the word out about their new brand. They made sure that any mention of the new brand led people towards the new @GlossierPlay Instagram account.

We hope these takeaways might serve as some inspiration for your next campaign, and we can’t wait to see what Team G gets up to next. That’s all folks. Thanks for reading!

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