By Shawn Rice
Ultra Beauty closing its doors following a buyout by competitor Sephora originated from a shady advertisement which posed as a magazine article. In that misleading advertisement it was falsely reported that the beauty supplier had been bought out by a competing chain. In April 2017, social media rumors circulated that makeup and beauty chain Ulta Beauty was closing all stores following a buyout by competitor Sephora.
Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the United States and the premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin, hair care products and salon services. Ulta Beauty offers more than 20,000 products from over 500 well-established and emerging beauty brands across all categories and price points.
Many of the versions of this ad contained what appeared to be a link to an article about the sudden closures, which sometimes appeared to be published by Curbed.com. You can see an example below.
However, all the links led to a page that was mocked up to look like a phony article from People magazine with a claim that Sephora’s supposed buyout of Ulta would be beneficial for cosmetics shoppers. You can see that below.
Sephora Just Announced They Are Buying Out Ulta – Here’s How YOU Can Take Advantage
Sephora just announced that they will acquire the 950 Ulta Stores nationwide, the first major announcement regarding the buy out in the new year. The mega-retailer will double in size and has already begun the liquidation process of Ulta products. To date, 18 of the 950 Ulta stores have already closed. The remaining stores will close by the end of the year.
Some of you may be sad to see your local Ulta Beauty close down, but the rest of you are probably wondering:”Will this benefit me in any way?” The answer to that question is absolutely “YES!” On top of the final blowout sales that are going to be held at each of the closing locations, Ulta Beauty cosmetics department is offering FREE SAMPLES of their skin care products..
Snopes reported that the scam advertisement then claimed that Ulta carries a secret product reserved only for celebrities and other high rollers. This secret product is then suggested to now be accessible to all due to the nonexistent liquidation of their products thanks to this fake news about a buyout.
Until recently, Ulta Beauty has always kept an amazing wrinkle secret called Vlamorous Cream reserved for their high paying celebrity clients. They reported that in order to clear the products off the shelves, they needed to give out free samples for everyone to try. As a result, a few weeks ago they shared the simple solution previously only shared with celeb clients to everyone!
Those who ended up visiting the fake People site were then greeted with a landing page resembling the magazine’s digital counterpart. This false page is complete with invitations to subscribe and a portal to other magazine titles. However, one should not click on the Go to the full article.