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16 Apr

Drew Elliott is Keeping MAC Cosmetics On the Forefront

MAC Cosmetics senior vice chairman and global creative director Drew Elliott doesn’t consider the corporate as a beauty brand. He defines it as a cultural brand, he said, in conversation with Jenny B. Advantageous, executive editor of beauty at WWD and Beauty Inc, in a discussion presented by MAC Cosmetics.

“MAC has had an enormous responsibility,” he said. “It’s modified a lot. It’s modified giving models, it’s modified beauty. MAC has been a blueprint for therefore many other brands. As a cultural brand, MAC is at the middle of popular culture.”

A key a part of Elliott’s role at the corporate is to maintain the cosmetics leader at the middle of cultural relevance. Sharing an anecdote about his first week on the job, Elliott said he had lunch with Leonard A. Lauder, who emphasized the importance of constructing MAC “cool.” 

In Elliott’s words, we currently live in an “attention economy,” which implies that staying culturally relevant and popular can change daily. To remain relevant, the corporate works across myriad platforms and categories. “There are such a lot of constructing blocks — whether our work in film and tv, our work on TikTok with among the best creators on the planet, or things we’re doing inside fashion week or in collaborations,” said Elliott. 

Realistically speaking, Elliott noted that it takes a brand up to a few years to come back out with a product from concept to manufacturing. So maintaining with the fast-paced nature of consumers’ ever-changing needs just isn’t possible via latest products alone. Nonetheless, there are other ways to make beauty products interesting to a customer, reminiscent of reanimating the corporate’s existing products to higher align with current trends.

“I’m an avid comment reader, I live in everyone’s comments,” said Elliott. “We’ve got focus groups and all these things. But should you read the comments, they’re really going to inform you where to go.”

With a background in editorial because the previous editor in chief at Paper Magazine, Elliott is well-versed in spotting trends and at MAC, created a trend engine to assist drive innovation at scale. “MAC is the art store of the face. We’ve got all of those incredible products. A few of them are 20, 30, 40 years old. The query is ‘How do you’re taking this remarkable catalog and switch it into something brand latest?’” Elliott said.

Elliott articulates that “math and magic” were involved to create the trend engine. “There may be some extent where the mathematics tells you something: analytics, data, strategy. But then there’s the magic piece, that tells you the gut feeling, connecting the dots, the artistry and putting all of those things together. Working on constructing the trend team, it was to operationalize where math and magic meet.”

For instance, black lipstick just isn’t a simple shade to get people to wear, but after Lizzo wore the shade Caviar, the corporate worked together with her makeup artist and sparked a conversation in regards to the revitalization of goth makeup. The hue was used on the catwalk at Luar’s show and later reinvigorated during Halloween. Elliott said that multidimensional, editorial form of considering helps drive brand relevancy.

Cat Quinn, who is called WWD’s Top 10 Fastest-Growing Beauty Influencers of 2022, currently serves as the corporate’s executive director of world trends. Elliott voiced his appreciation having not only corporate people in the combination, but someone who has their finger on the heartbeat to talk to culturally relevant moments the corporate must be participating in.

Elliott vocalized the importance of agility. A challenge for giant brands is that culture will proceed to maneuver faster — one that he’s able to tackle head-first to attach the dots excitingly. “You could have to maneuver fast each day and have a team ready to try this.”

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