The popular cosmetics line Kiss Me Heroine Make-Up is touring Japan this summer in a special sampling bus. The line, from maker Isehan, uses a famous, central comic book character as its brand image, the so-called Princess Elizabeth. The bus is touring cities for 141 days, including stops in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, the three main cities in Japan. Inside, consumers can to try out a “rococo” powder room and test the Heroine Make-Up products, as well as receive merchandise like original mirrors with the markings of the cosmetics character. Decorated and designed in the playful and eye-catching pink and yellow of the brand, all the facilities and services are available for free. Princess Elizabeth is also writing a blog to accompany the bus tour, under the theme of “turning all girls into princesses,” which provides make-up techniques and videos. The journey kicked off on July 21 and initially visited key Tokyo fashion locations like Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando.

Heroine Make-Up is unusual in that it offers up as a model of beauty not a traditional image but a manga (comic) character like the ones popular with young girls. However, its demographic is broad, as witnessed in the awards the products have won from mainstream fashion media and the fact that its mascara product alone has sold 7 million units.

By coincidence, another Japanese cosmetics brand, Shiseido, also conducted its own sampling and promotional bus tour in May and June, only across America. Shiseido’s bus visited major cities including New York, Washington, Seattle, L.A., Chicago and Miami, offering free massages and giving away 100,000 samples of its products. Further, three brand ambassador fashion models created viral content for the tour via its official Facebook

These kinds of campaigns create a sense of an event, generating buzz both online and in person as the buses are very visible to thousands of passing shoppers. Visiting consumers get an experience not just of sampling new products or brands, but also of feeling they are treated like special, luxury consumers  (even if the style is a touch kitsch).