For the launch of their new fragrance, Parisienne, Yves Saint Laurent sought a new approach, and engagement-centered campaign. Sub Rosa worked with the brand to develop an experientially-driven campaign that took select journalists and creatives on a journey of discovery after that which is Parisian, in some of the country’s largest cities.


Client Conversation


The Parisienne team needed to break through an over-saturated industry. Most similar product launches create short-term impact but rarely deliver a longer, deeper sense of community or engagement that truly drives conversion. This was the goal of the assignment and one that Sub Rosa accepted with excitement.



One of the most unique insights gleaned from preliminary research was that the brand’s target market – 18-28 year-old women – were in large part only conceptually familiar with the romanticized ideals of life in Paris. With only a small percentage of women in the target actually having been to Paris firsthand, we needed to bring Paris to them. This insight drove a 360º strategy that enabled the brand to bring a fresh perspective to the launch and engage women in ways never before seen in the beauty industry.

Our Work


The campaign launched with a gala masquerade party in New York City – bringing together fashion bloggers, creative influencers, and the industry’s glitterati for a one-night-only spectacle. Performances by the Misshapes, Alexandra Richards and Suzanne Bartsch all helped fill the room with a who’s-who of New York’s downtown scene.

On the surface, this appeared to be the sort of event that, while exhilarating, was a flash in the pan moment for the brand. What most people didn’t know (and wouldn’t find out for a few weeks) was that this kicked off a cross-country journey for a hand-picked group of fashion and beauty influencers to travel to other key markets and explore that which is Parisienne in each city. The founders of Refinery29, along with editors from Stylecaster and other key outlets set out to visit each city (starting with New York) and create original content that could be used by the brand to drive awareness, demand, sampling and sales opportunities.

In each city they visited, the travelers uncovered galleries, patisseries, bistros and cafés along with boutiques, spas, restaurants and hotels that all spoke to the inner Parisian within all of us. Their 10-day journey culminated in the accumulation of over 60 days of original content that would be released through both brand-owned social and digital channels, as well as syndicated back to the author’s respective outlets as well.

For the months of November and December, Sub Rosa’s team released the content on the website (built by Sub Rosa) as well as its social channels (designed and maintained by Sub Rosa as well). All the while, sampling opportunities and other sales-based calls to action were driving sales during the critical holiday launch period.

To further bolster participation and engagement with the brand, we deployed a contest that would elicit submissions from consumers to share how they find a little piece of a Parisian lifestyle in their own daily round. Thousands of submissions poured in and were voted on by the community to result in a short-list of 5 finalists that were announced on social and the brand’s website. Ultimately, a winner was selected by a jury of fashion and beauty celebrities to win a trip for two to Paris for New Year’s Eve and a collection of YSL fashion and beauty product.



The work created buzz that cascaded throughout the industry – featuring the campaign on the front page of WWD, as well as other key media outlets. Earned media impressions succeeded 200 million during the two-month campaign and was heralded as a groundbreaking and inventive way to launch a fragrance.