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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Hotline Ping

Finalist in IGTV, Instructional


When COVID-19 hit, waxing salons nationwide were forced to shut their doors.

For European Wax Center, this meant not only an obvious drop in revenue, but also the genuine threat of losing their clients to DIY hair removal for good. EWC clients, in turn, weren’t able to rely on their regular wax routine. They’d lost more than a beauty care regimen (and a sense of normalcy). They’d lost access to the expertise of EWC’s staff.

Strategy and Execution

We sympathized with each frantic comment and question we saw posted online; we felt every painful TikTok and YouTube self-wax moment. Clearly, people were missing the very real, personal connections they had with the estheticians they trusted.

Our insight: Even if an EWC location’s physical doors were closed, the brand itself could still be a source of confidence and expertise for their clients. So, we brought the experts to the people by creating a way for clients to “visit” EWC virtually—an online forum where EWC could reassure clients and give them the answers and knowledge they’d come to value and rely on.

And in doing so, we gave EWC a way to stay relevant, even while closed.

First, we created unique branding for the series, starting with the name. “Hotline Ping” is a nod to both its “emergency service” nature and the functionality of the channels where it lives. The look and feel are cheerful and welcoming, serving as a breath of fresh air and positivity in a stressful time.

We then developed a visual direction and editing formula, complete with custom music and sound design, to ensure consistency. We built a comprehensive rollout plan, including audience engagement cadence, posting schedule, and content calendar.   

Finally, we created detailed briefs and shooting guidelines for our experts so they could film their own content safely. Once this foundation was in place, we sent out a call for questions on our social channels—and they came pouring in.

We initially talked people off the razor’s edge, addressing temptations to tackle hair removal at home. We offered information, alternatives, and most importantly, reassurance.

From there, we covered more subjects, and added more experts. And we continued even after EWC reopened, because Hotline Ping was clearly making a valuable connection.

Being a business that delivers a particularly intimate service, EWC’s brand has uniquely close relationships with guests. Waxing clients choose EWC over competitors because they’re a leader in the category, with unmatched mastery of the service, rooted in skincare expertise. The close personal connection guests feel to their estheticians, paired with EWC’s reputation for expertise, creates a strong sense of trust in the brand.

When salons closed, clients were filled with uncertainty. Is it safe to wax myself at home? Should I risk the progress of my years-long waxing routine and shave instead? Do I have the emotional strength to wait and keep growing out the hair until I can return to EWC again? As the trusted wax experts that our guests count on, we had to step in and help.

Providing answers, advice, and a calming presence to our guests through this trying time met more than a moral imperative. It also fulfilled two key brand objectives:

  1. Strengthen our point of differentiation: Expertise
  2. Maintain guest relationships in the absence of our typical physical touchpoint


The hotline opened, and the questions came pouring in—with over 300 ‘pings’ from followers on social media.

When the first video was shared, waxing clients were eager to learn the answers to their questions. Instagram engagement grew by 162% week over week, with Instagram Stories’ reach skyrocketing 398.5% month over month.

To date, the videos have received roughly 820k impressions across multiple owned channels, without a single dollar of paid support. That’s 820k reminders that we are the trusted experts in wax, and 820k moments of personal connection despite the doors being closed.

The closure of EWC locations created obvious business challenges. Yet, from a branding perspective, it offered an opportunity to offer trusted advice in a time of great uncertainty, create a sense of community in a time of isolation, and build deeper connections with our guests than ever before. And we answered the call.


Video for Hotline Ping

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Critical Mass, European Wax Center

Entry Credits