Why the Adore Beauty and 7-Eleven coffee scrub collaboration is a genius marketing play

Inside the ‘surprising’ coffee scrub collaboration between cult retailer Adore Beauty and 7-Eleven

Inside the ‘surprising’ coffee scrub collaboration between cult retailer Adore Beauty and 7-Eleven.

While brand strategists spend countless hours ensuring a company’s ambassadors align with its public image, one digital-first retailer has shown an unexpected collaboration can be a savvy business move. 

On Tuesday the Australian arm of global convenience chain 7-Eleven unveiled a body scrub made using grounds from the store’s famously affordable coffee.

Not only was the release of a beauty product a surprise, the chain’s exclusive sales partner for the product was Adore Beauty; the ASX-listed Australian e-commerce company that rakes in approximately $180 million in annual revenue.


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A post shared by 7-Eleven Australia (@7elevenaus)

Commenters on Instagram were quick to point out that while the collaboration was a fantastic brand play for 7-Eleven, working with a commercial convenience store was a left-field move for Adore Beauty.

“Did I miss April fools day?” one commenter asked on 7-Eleven Australia’s Instagram page, echoing many others who wondered if the announcement was an elaborate joke.

Others expressed surprise and delight at the unexpected pairing.

“So cool! Didn’t expect that from you,” one commenter said.

“Is this the same coffee as the $1 coffee you sell in your stores?” another asked.

Actually, from a brand strategy perspective, the collaboration makes perfect sense for both sides, Jessica Ruhfus, founder and chief executive at marketing partnerships platform Collabosaurus, says.

“The reach of 7-Eleven is just so huge and powerful,” Ruhfus tells SmartCompany.

“Because it’s oddball it has attracted a lot of attention and talk-ability.”

Jess Ruhfus

Jess Ruhfus, founder and CEO of Collabosaurus.

Why an unexpected collaboration can be powerful

A digital marketing PR expert who lends her expertise to industry events, as well as running her platform for brand partnerships, Ruhfus has an insider’s view on what makes a successful collaboration.

In this case, it’s great value for Adore Beauty’s community. As she said in a LinkedIn post, the scrub is available to buy for $1 on any order over $20, making it essentially a free gift with purchase.

“This is a great ‘surprise and delight’ opportunity for Adore customers,” Ruhfus says.

Secondly, the collaboration actually is on brand for both companies, she adds, when you break down shared brand values of ‘fun’, ‘modern’, ‘affordable’ and ‘accessible’.

It has also given 7-Eleven the opportunity for a brand “glow up” with its super sleek packaging and campaign fronted by Australian actress, model and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Olympia Valance.

“They rose to meet Adore Beauty as much as they could for this. Respect.” Ruhfus says.


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A post shared by 7-Eleven Australia (@7elevenaus)

Collaboration delivered undeniable audience reach

Finally, the partnership was a no-brainer when it comes to audience reach for both brands.

From enlisting Vallance to support the promotion and add credibility, to gifting, media outreach and paid digital advertising by 7-Eleven, the campaign puts the Adore Beauty brand in front of a significant number of eyeballs.

“It just goes to show like the range of 7-Eleven is just so huge and powerful, that it’s a worthwhile campaign for sure,” Ruhfus notes.

“This kind of marketing doesn’t come along every day.”

That said, execution was everything when it came to making a surprise pairing work for consumers.

If they hadn’t spent the energy on developing that beautiful packaging, if they hadn’t rolled it out in the big way that they did, or gotten Vallance on board, for example.

“Or if they had priced it really high, I think this whole campaign totally wouldn’t work,” Ruhfus adds.

“But all the elements are there, and that’s what made it successful.”

Shanthi Murugan, head of creative and campaign strategy at Adore Beauty tells SmartCompany collaborating with 7-Eleven was a unique and unconventional way to “engage beauty lovers who appreciate that beauty can be both fun and playful”.

“At Adore Beauty, we believe that beauty is whatever makes you, you,” Murugan says.

“We’re excited about the collaboration with 7-Eleven as it demonstrates how category innovation can intersect in beneficial ways for brands and customers alike.”


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