Benefit Cosmetics and how they leveraged NFTs to increase consumer engagement & sales

The term NFTs (these days) is commonly associated with art these days. According to The Verge, NFTs can really be anything digital (such as drawings, music, your brain downloaded and turned into an AI), but a lot of the current excitement is around using the tech to sell digital art.
However, this is not about art, today our blog is about how Benefit Cosmetics leveraged NFTs to increase consumer engagement and sales during the pandemic by building a bespoke Virtual Atoms (a form of NFTs) powered platform.

Launch amidst lockdowns

When the UK announced nationwide lockdowns in 2020 and early 2021, Benefit Cosmetics needed a way to engage their consumers and encourage sales to mitigate closure of their stores and concession stands. Lockdowns were hard enough on sales of cosmetics, but even harder on launches of new products in cosmetics, skin care and hair care. And this was exactly the challenge Benefit Cosmetics needed to overcome. They had a new mascara product to launch when lockdowns hit. The new product being launched was They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara. The company needed a way to launch the product, reach their target consumers (‘BeneBabes’) and drive conversion.

A new way to reach their target

They needed a new approach to their sales strategy and the new consumer engagement platform needed to appeal to a jaded and frustrated audience who were now bombarded with Facebook & Instagram ads. Benefit Cosmetics describes its target consumer as ‘committed to the brand and active in social media interactions’. This meant that any ads or campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, would be just another ad to the target Benefit consumer. They needed a way to get their attention.

To do this we used a pioneering new technology, Virtual Atoms (VA) – a form of NFTs, to create a ‘lashtastic’ virtual-media campaign with real-life results.

Virtual Atoms (VA)

Benefit Cosmetics used a new technology, Virtual Atoms (VA), to create a virtual media platform and campaign to reach and wow their consumers. The VA campaign was multi channel and gave ‘BeneBabes’ a full 360degree experience if they so wished. Ads on social media encouraged fans and potential consumers to sign up to the VA platform. The platform engaged its users through virtual and real life experiences that had gamification at their core and drove them to buy the new magic mascara.

Users were asked to drop a pin to share their location. Then using AR, registered consumers used their device camera to view and collect ‘surprises’ they could see around them within the safety of their home/wherever they were then.

The surprises, Virtual Atoms, were stored in their Virtual Atoms’ wallet and could be redeemed to ‘spin the wheel’ and win prizes such as virtual beauty consultations, mascaras and product discounts. Winners were then redirected to their virtual store where they could collect their prizes and also buy product.

The platform also housed exclusive content from well known beauty influencers and promoted the campaign with nearly 1.4million followers on Instagram.

The results

Through the innovative use of NFTs and Virtual reality, Benefit Cosmetics created an omni-channel campaign that was fun for its target consumers and also delivered results. The campaign delivered a conversion rate of 55.4% vs a target of 46% and a click through rate (from registration to the platform) of 39.4% vs a target of 35%. The average dwell time was 2 minutes and 22 second, 29,870 new BeneBabes registered and 16,534 prizes were collected.


Not only was invaluable data captured through this campaign, but the platform helped Benefit Cosmetics connect with new and existing target consumers during a time when other companies struggled to do so.

The changing world of customer experience in FMCG

Forrester Research defines customer experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.”
Customer experience in FMCG starts with how customers become aware of a brand/company and ends with any interactions with the company’s team for returns, damaged products etc. This includes any activities the brand team or company may undertake to increase awareness and encourage intent to buy. Eg: sampling campaigns, surveys, free product, in-store promotions etc.

Customer centricity aka customer experience aka CX is becoming an increasingly important business KPI in FMCG companies and retailers.

Why is CX becoming increasingly important in FMCG?

When customers (consumers) have positive experiences while interacting with a brand, they tell others about their experience. They do this through reviews on retailer/brand websites or on their social media accounts. This is free word-of-mouth advertising for the brand. Positive customer experience can also encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases. 

But how do you improve CX if you don’t sell to the end consumer?

This is the case for many FMCG companies that sell their brands through distributors, supermarkets & convenience stores. For these companies, retail execution is key to unlocking superior customer experience. They employ various strategies including ‘shop in shop’ concepts, interactive brand discovery on screens, samplings/tastings, product experiences and brand videos. In-store brand ambassadors (sales people) who are knowledgeable about the brand who consumers can talk to and learn more about the range are extremely effective. Brand ambassadors can not only sell effectively to consumers, but they can also act on/pass on to relevant brand teams any feedback the consumer gives.

However, the pandemic has accelerated change in how consumers/shoppers buy and experience brands. Previously, it was important to have a great brand website and an e-commerce portal. Now it is vital that consumers are able to access the brands without travelling to a store.

A few recent CX stratagems employed by brands

Below are a few examples of superior CX which have generated considerable interest from consumers and have translated to sales in these challenging times.

‘Lumi’ by Pampers:

The Pampers team came up with Lumi as a way to address the plentiful worries a new parent has. The goal wasn’t just to sell Pampers. They understood the worries that new parents have about their baby’s sleep routine and created an app that acts as more than a baby monitor. Lumi monitors their baby’s sleep patters, tracks diaper wetness to alert parents and provides actionable insights on how to sleep train their baby. Lumi is all about the baby and providing the baby’s parents with peace of mind.

By making the baby’s comfort and development the core of the Lumi app/monitor, Pampers has delivered a truly superior customer experience that will encourage new parents to buy Pampers diapers. The ones that work with Lumi are only 4 cents more expensive per diaper than regular ones.

To top this all off, the Pampers website is all about expecting mothers and the baby. While there is a section on ‘products’ that lists the Pampers range, most of the website is about the various stages of pregnancy, and about babies and their development. You cannot get more customer centric than that!

Heineken Silver in the Metaverse later launched in real life

Brewed with pixels, Heineken Silver is the world’s first virtual beer. Heineken launched its ‘digital’ beer inside the company’s virtual brewery. According to the company, the beer is made of the finest, 100% computer-generated ingredients, brewed with Binary Coded Hops grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers.

Heineken partnered with self-taught street artist, J. Demsky to design parts of the virtual brewery. According to several attendees, the launch event was (intentionally) bizarre, later confirmed by Heineken.

Bram Westenbrink (from Heineken) said, “We know that the metaverse brings people together in a light-hearted and immersive way but it’s just not the best place to taste a new beer.

Our new virtual beer is an ironic joke. It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse with products that are best enjoyed in the real world.”

In an ironic twist, Heineken took Heineken Silver from the Metaverse and launched it in real life last month.Taking this further, Heineken unveiled a series of FRTs – For Real Tokens – collective art pieces by Spanish artist, J. Demsky, poking fun at the NFT culture during the launch event.

Heineken was not afraid to poke fun at themselves with the launch of Heineken Silver in the Metaverse. By sharing this experience with their loyal consumers and providing an unforgettable experience for new to Heineken consumers, the brand built strong rapport with their consumers.

Launching Heineken Silver in real life showed they listen to their consumers and is a key element of CX.

AB Inbev’s digital horses and their vision of Metaverse beer which can be delivered in real life

AB InBev moved into the virtual Ethereum based game horse racing platform Zed Run. According to Lindsey McInerney, “brands should parallel in the metaverse what they do in reality”. 

With its history of sport sponsoring, especially horse racing, AB InBev was eager to be among the first to start one in the metaverse. They moved into the virtual Ethereal based horse racing (game) platform by an Australian start-up. The virtual horses on Zed Run are ‘breathing non-fungible tokens’. While users are able to name their horses, how their horses behave on the track is defined by algorithms based on characteristics such as their bloodlines, just like in real life.

According to Adformatie, Stella Artois created a set of unique horse breeds for Zed Run, with Stella Artois-themed skins and a 3D racetrack. According to Forbes, these unique horses were sold for millions of dollars for the digital races.

This creates an entirely unique customer experience for the target consumers for Stella Artois and Budweiser. They have created a new of way of reaching their target consumer and providing them with an unforgettable brand experience.

According to McInerney, the vision is to some day have people from different parts of the world attend the races together, buy a round of beer at the races and have them be delivered in real life, so friends can virtually attend an event and have a drink both virtually and in real life.

By creating new ways for people to get together and bond, AB Inbev is providing its existing consumers with an unforgettable experience that they are unlikely to forget. Also, they have created an innovative channel to reach their target consumer and encourages trial.

There are several other brands leveraging technology to create unique customer experiences. If there are any brands in particular that have grabbed your attention, please email me with details at veena@salesbeat.co so we can include them in another blog or cover them in our podcast. The next Salesbeat blog will look at how retailers are leveraging technology for superior customer experience.