Kiehl’s spreads festive cheer in Seoul as Shinsegae Duty Free eyes beauty firsts

By Luke Barras-hill |


The wintry Kiehl’s campaign at the mirror carousel area promotes the Limited Edition Janine Rewell range of products.

New York beauty house Kiehl’s unveiled a 360-degree activation in downtown Seoul today (14 December) to entice spending during the key gifting season.

TRBusiness was present for the official launch of the ‘Make it Merrier with Kiehl’s’ holiday pop-up located at Shinsegae Duty Free’s flagship Myeongdong store in Sogong-ro, Jung-gu.

Visitors to the execution, which is situated at the high-trafficked perfumes & cosmetics level on the tenth floor, were welcomed to the L’Oréal-owned brand’s universe with entertainment, photo opportunities, a prize draw and an appearance from K-pop R&B star Eric Nam.


The activation plays heavily on digital, with the Kiehl’s branding emblazoned across digital screens and engaging creatives visible at on-stand interactive play zones.


Petrina Kho, General Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific pays tribute to its partnership with Shinsegae Duty Free.

These highlight the favourite pastimes of ‘Mr Bones’, the brand’s recognisable skeleton synonymous with its history of skincare apothecary, science and medicine, to reimagine the conventional retail experience.

Alongside browsing the bestselling products, guests to the stand are invited to partake in a virtual reality game where they can ride a snowball through Mr Bones’ favourite New York City hotspots, from skating in Central Park to carol singing in Washington Square.

The holiday pop-up coincides with the roll-out of the Limited Edition Janine Rewell range, inspired by the Finnish graphic artist and illustrator.

These consist of the Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, Ultra Facial Cream and Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner.

With education, the environment and awareness of HIV/Aids remaining core focuses for Kiehl’s, the brand has this year teamed up with non-profit organisation Room to Read, which helps to improve children’s education and literacy.

With an increasing onus on brands to demonstrate their ethical, sustainable and philanthropic credentials to justify consumers’ share of wallet spend, Kiehl’s has made a special pledge until the 31 December.


A crowd of more than 200 including brand followers, KOLs, media and representatives from Kiehl’s and Shinsegae Duty Free were present at the event, which was held at the expansive perfumes & cosmetics duty free zone on floor 10 of the travel retailer’s department store in the busy Myeongdong shopping district.

For every purchase of the Ultra Facial Cream 125ml Holiday Limited Edition, Kiehl’s will donate US$1 towards supporting the education of children in need.

Shoppers are also encouraged to share their favourite childhood storybook at the pop-up, which is then used to inform Room to Read’s future book purchases.

Elsewhere, customer representatives from Kiehl’s have been lending a hand by participating in school projects, including in Singapore, to engage with disadvantaged children, helping them to celebrate Christmas and deliver reading material to other schools.


Toast to tinseltown (left to right): Patrick Kim, Area Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific; Lydia Acheuk, Marketing Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific; Petrina Kho, General Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific; Eric Nam, K-pop artist; Seok Ho Hong, Senior Vice President, Merchandising Division, Shinsegae Duty Free; and Hee Eun Chung, General Manager, Cosmetic & Perfume, Shinsegae Duty Free.

Praising the vital importance of the holiday period in facilitating educational exposure to low-income and disadvantaged families across the globe, Rocio Lopez, Development Director, Hong Kong, Room to Read said: “By 2025 our programme will have impacted 40 million children.”


The ‘Make it Merrier with Kiehl’s’ holiday pop-up is exclusive to the Shinsegae Myeongdong store.


Shinsegae Duty Free Myeongdong has a larger designated events area, although TRBusiness learns that a smaller one also exists at the travel retailer’s nearby Gangnam department store.

“It’s the only store in Korea were we have extra space to set up this special event, bringing the customer into the experience and having them go to [Kiehl’s] counters,” explained Hee Eun Chung, Cosmetic & Perfume General Manager, Shinsegae Duty Free.

“That is what brands and customers love – the chance to have an event and show the store concept too.”

At present, Shinsegae Duty Free holds around three to four large beauty activations per year, but further standalone executions are planned in 2020.

“We are planning on more than six events next year,” revealed Chung. “We are still relatively new to the market so we are increasing our voice by bringing people into the store and are trying to invite new brands.

“We are trying to launch ‘firsts’ so people can actually see Shinsegae has a leading trend and that is what we are aiming for.”

Commenting on the launch, Petrina Kho, General Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific said: “Holiday is a joyous time of the year, and Kiehl’s is delighted to push the boundaries of disruptive and engaging retail expression with Shinsegae Duty Free through our immersive ‘Make it Merrier with Kiehl’s holiday pop-up’.

“In the spirit of giving and sharing, we are pleased to invite our shoppers to join us in making a difference to children’s lives through education support with non-profit global organisation Room to Read.”

Seok Ho Hong, Merchandising Division Senior Vice President, Shinsegae Duty Free added: “We are thrilled to be part of the ‘Make it merrier with Kiehl’s’ campaign this season with this 360-degree holiday pop-up.


In accepting a cheque on behalf of Kiehl’s from Petrina Kho, General Manger, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific (right), Rocio Lopez, Development Director, Hong Kong, Room to Read (left) says the donation will help tackle illiteracy among 200 children.

“This strong partnership with Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific has enabled us to constantly deliver unique and inspiring retail experiences to our shoppers, and we look forward to more exciting collaborations in the future.”

In celebration of Chinese New Year 2020, denoted by the Zodiac sign of the rat, TRBusiness is told that Kiehl’s is set to unmask new product designs and retail theatre.

For more on Kiehl’s, click here to read an exclusive interview with Petrina Kho, General Manager, Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific.


Helsinki-based designer and illustrator Janine Rewell helped curate the limited edition product packaging and branding elements on display at the Kiehl’s stand at Shinsegae Duty Free Myeongdong.


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