It's rare that you see two powerhouse cosmetics brands come together, let alone competing brands. But that's exactly what Benefit Cosmetics and MAC Cosmetics are doing — and it's for a good cause.
The brands made a joint announcement this morning that they would be showing financial and ethical support for Planned Parenthood this year. To be clear, this isn't a collaboration — no cobranded makeup products. However, both cosmetic companies made the decision to contribute to Planned Parenthood and, during discussions with the organization, decided it was best to announce the partnerships together.
For 102 years, Planned Parenthood has provided sexual and reproductive health care and information to those who need it. According to its most recent annual report, the organization provided care via 600 health centers to 2.4 million people across the United States from October 2016 to September 30, 2017. It offers expert care, including birth control information and services, breast exams and pap tests, STI testing and treatment, and safe and legal abortions to those in need.
"When we founded the Bold Is Beautiful Project in 2015 to support women and girls, we outlined three criteria in choosing non-profit partners: education and mentorship, economic self-sufficiency, and access to wellness. As the nation's leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care, as well as the largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood hits all three. It was so clear to us that we needed to support their mission." Annie Ford Danielson
Each May, Benefit's Bold Is Beautiful project donates 100 percent of brow wax customer sales to organizations that empower women and girls. "My mom and aunt started this brand more than 40 years ago, and empowering women has been at the core of what we do ever since," said Annie Ford Danielson, chief beauty ambassador at Benefit Cosmetics. "When we founded the Bold Is Beautiful Project in 2015 to support women and girls, we outlined three criteria in choosing non-profit partners: education and mentorship, economic self-sufficiency, and access to wellness. As the nation's leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care, as well as the largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood hits all three. It was so clear to us that we needed to support their mission."
"One in five American women will rely on Planned Parenthood in her lifetime. In the US, Benefit is made up of more than 90 percent women," Maggie Ford Danielson, chief beauty ambassador at Benefit Cosmetics and Annie's sister, said, explaining why it was important for the brand to show support of the organization.
In the past, the brand has donated to Step Up, Dress for Success, Girls Inc., The Princess Project, and Look Good Feel Better; this year, Planned Parenthood will be among those organizations for the first time. Bold Is Beautiful will run in 21 countries this year, and in each country, the brand will donate to a handful of local, nonprofit organizations. Since launching in 2015, Benefit has raised in total $16 million; the goal for 2019 will be to raise $6 million. Additionally, on May 1, the brand will launch a special-edition 3D BROWtones in magenta in custom rose gold packaging, which will be available year-round; 100 percent of the proceeds from this new product will go toward Bold Is Beautiful.
MAC's Viva Glam initiative is one of the industry's first 100 percent giving models. The sales of Viva Glam products go to the MAC AIDS Fund, and as the largest corporate nonpharmaceutical giver in the arena, it has been focused on ending the stigma around HIV/AIDS, helping to eradicate the virus, and addressing the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS. While the brand has had a relationship with Planned Parenthood since 2008, it is making a two-year, $500,000 commitment to the organization starting in 2019 by providing assistance for the organization's Chat/Text program and its new sexual health chatbot, Roo. Both Roo and the Chat/Text program offer answers about sexual and reproductive health to those who need it, with no judgment or embarrassment, at any time, anywhere.
"Viva Glam is truly the heart and soul of MAC Cosmetics, and it all started with a powerful lipstick funding a disruptive 100 percent giving model," said John Demsey, chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund and executive group president at The Estée Lauder Companies. "This model has enabled us to support remarkable partners like Planned Parenthood to help people make informed decisions to live their best lives, especially for those who have limited access to the social safety net and need additional avenues to access care. It's a privilege to join forces with them to scale their Chat/Text program, which meets people where they are to spark tough dialogue around sexual and reproductive health."
"It's a privilege to join forces with Planned Parenthood to scale their Chat/Text program, which meets people where they are to spark tough dialogue around sexual and reproductive health."
Having two massive competing brands (Benefit Cosmetics is a subsidiary to LVMH brands; MAC Cosmetics is part of Estée Lauder Companies) use their platform to help erase the stigma against Planned Parenthood, a leader in sexual and reproductive health, will hopefully inspire more brands to do the same. At the very least, we're encouraged by the awareness Benefit and MAC are bringing to an important organization.