BING TO BASEL - A Social Media Marketing Adventure


In December 2014, three of us from Smashbox took a road trip from our headquarters in Los Angeles to Art Basel in Miami to promote our Be Legendary Lipstick collaboration with Instagram star artist Donald Robertson (@donalddrawbertson). Donald had created a limited-edition, collectible sleeve for our Bing shade of lipstick -- so what better way to spread the word about this artsy partnership (and amazing lipstick!) than with a "Bing to Basel" cross-country freebie tour that ended at the artsiest event of the year? 

But of course we couldn't take just any car across the country. We also commissioned Donald to cover a vintage Cadillac with spray-painted lips in the same shade as Bing lipstick. (Naturally, we named the car Cherry Bing.) The Cadillac made its way from Los Angeles, CA > Tucson, AZ > Marfa, TX > New Orleans, LA > Gainesville, FL > Miami Beach, FL. And all along the journey, we tweeted out our location and gave away lipsticks to happy beauty junkies everywhere -- including up and down famed Bourbon Street in New Orleans, as seen in the video to the right.

In addition to hundreds of tweets and Instagram posts tagged with #BINGTOBASEL, this Instagram road trip-slash-traveling art installation was picked up by countless media outlets, including New York Magazine,, Glamour, The Hollywood Reporter, Marie Claire and The New York Times, among many others – which was precisely the objective for this grassroots promotion with limited budget behind it.

Our Instagram road trip ended with an unexpected, totally unplanned Miley moment. Out of the blue, the pop star appeared in front of the Cadillac, threw down her bag and climbed onto the hood to pose for a pic. Dozens of people captured this image of Miley on the hood of the Cadillac, and it picked up even more press, appearing on, and even fashion designer Jeremy Scott's personal Instagram. The moment perfectly illustrates the uniqueness of this activation and the effectiveness of it as a driver of organic buzz -- our ultimate goal for this collaboration with Donald Robertson to promote our lipsticks, without a traditional media plan/budget.