MAC Cosmetics was founded in 1984 and it is a cosmetics brand that is currently operating under the Estee Lauder umbrella. MAC is known for their "All ages, All Races, All Genders" motto and it is one of the leading brands when it comes to promoting inclusivity. MAC's main product is the Ruby Woo red lipstick which got famous after Madonna wore it for her music video in the 1990s.
Mac's evolution in terms of strategy and key moments in the brand's history explained
MakeUp Art Cosmetics was founded in Toronto, Canada by a makeup artist named Frank Toskan and a salon owner named Frank Angelo. The duo "became frustrated by the lack of makeup that photographed well, so they decided to create their own". At first, the cosmetics were sold directly to salons, makeup artists, models, and photographers. In 1984, the first MAC counter was launched in a Toronto department store. The approach to selling makeup was to package the products in black pots rather than compacts. MAC wasn't trying to dominate the skincare field, but decided to "establish itself as the ultimate color authority". Professional makeup artists have been manning the counter from the start, and the same strategy is applied today.
MAC was acquired by Estee Lauder in 1994, and today the brand is sold in more than 120 countries around the world. The brand is still committed to "developing new categories, products and over 50 collections each year, all of which continue to serve the demand of consumers and professional makeup artists alike".
Significant or primary products
The most significant product in MAC's offering is the red lipstick. The most known shade is Ruby Woo which was first worn by Madonna. Other significant products include MAC Prep & Prime Fix +, which is a primer. Furthermore, MAC Studio Fix Fluid and MAC Mineralize SkinFinish are powders which are considered iconic. MAC Lip Pencil in Whirl, MAC Eyeshadow in Wedge, and MAC Great Brows are also considered to be part of MAC's primary offering.
Brand and marketing strategies
MAC is famous for their tagline "All Ages, All Races, All Genders." which is the key guideline for MAC's brand positioning. The brand also markets itself as cosmopolitan, innovative, irreverent, and original.
MAC is known as a luxury brand, but they developed a concept of being affordable for customers. However, officially it is categorized as a luxury brand under Estee Lauder.
The brand also positions itself as "a proud community of professional makeup artists working together to bring our vision to life".
The biggest markets for MAC are United Kingdom, Brazil, India, South Africa and the Middle East.
More recently, MAC has been focused on inclusivity and targeting Millenials. A good example of such a marketing campaign is a film they recently put out called More Than T, which is a docuseries on the "challenging yet frequently inspiring lives of seven transgender people". MAC has proven to be a company that doesn't shy away from controversial topics in their pursue of exclusivity, which aligns perfectly with their "All ages, all races, all genders" motto.
The brand also has a reputation for being one of the most progressive brands that is focused on philanthropic activities. RuPaul and k.d. Lang were some of MAC's first spokespeople. Additionally, the company raised over $450 million through the MAC AIDS Fund that supports organizations that are focused on helping people living with HIV.
MAC was acquired by Estee Lauder in 1994. The whole Estee Lauder company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which points to it being a public company.
Drivers of their success
There are a few key drivers of MAC's success. The first, as already mentioned above, is company's focus on compact packaging. The second is the brand's pursuit of providing the best color products as possible. MAC also equips their stores with professionals that can help people choose the right products. The professional makeup artists also provide free makeup sessions in order to showcase what makeup would look good on consumers.
Recent issues mac faced
MAC started selling their products in China in 2005. Chinese government asks beauty companies to test their products on animals. And while MAC received a lot of backlashes after they decided to sell to China, they insist they do not test on animals. Instead, they say it's Chinese government performing testing in their own facilities. In their statement, they say: "We do not own any animal testing facilities and we never ask others to test on animals for us. While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, we are advocating for change to prove there are alternatives."