Every day, the beauty industry takes further steps into the digital world. From metaverse ventures to beauty-specific DAOs and exclusive social media campaigns, consumers are being offered innovative and interactive ways to connect with their favorite brands via online spaces. To keep audiences entertained with new ways to consume, several companies are testing the waters with different social platforms to see what engages their followers the most. The latest app to be taken under the wing of cosmetics brands, gaining significant traction, is Twitch, the live-streaming platform best known for broadcasting esports competitions and video game streams.
With over 8.042MM active users on the platform, and 39% of beauty fans also playing video games, with 22% enjoying esports, Twitch holds various opportunities for beauty brands to market their products in an engaging way on a less saturated platform. Twitch has been previously experimented with by brands such as MAC, and has recently seen a significant increase in attention from cosmetics companies. This comes a little over a year since Twitch user yayayayoung told BeautyMatter, “The beauty space is pretty much non-existent on Twitch.” Today, this could not be more different, with esteemed beauty brand NYX Professional Makeup hosting on-site booths at the platform's event, TwitchCon, which saw over 20,000 live-stream lovers head to the San Diego Convention Center in early October.
NYX Professional Makeup integrated beauty and gaming through their offering of digital artists, who worked with event attendees to create avatars that showcased their personalities, bringing their online presence to life. The brand also interacted with its fans through photo opportunities, using color-illuminated blocks that allowed people to compose their own individual image backgrounds. Hidden pixelated, heart-shaped NYX Professional Makeup logos were also positioned throughout the venue, and once scanned, allowed consumers to learn more about the brand’s best-selling products such as the Epic Ink Liner, with the chance to claim prizes. The company’s offerings at the event concluded with a makeup masterclass hosted by drag queens, using solely NYX Professional Makeup Products, for a “NYX-ified” experience.
“NYX Professional Makeup has a unique and developing relationship within this community,” says Diana Valdez, Head of Consumer Engagement at NYX Professional Makeup. “At TwitchCon, we wanted to experiment and learn more about consumer behavior, all while engaging with the community and having fun.”
With brands such as NYX Professional Makeup providing cosmetic offerings at these types of events, there is sure to be an increase in inclusion within both the beauty and gaming industry, breaking down the toxic idea that both subjects should be gendered and kept separate. Despite GWI reporting 50% of gamers in the US are female, gaming is still seen in society as a predominantly male activity, with 60% of Americans believing that most video game players are men. As for makeup, 65% of men say they would wear makeup if there were no fear of being judged by others, proving there is a need for change. “We see a lot of affinity for both gaming and beauty. Not only is makeup what we have in common with gamers and cosplay communities, but the diversity and representation in gaming is important for us,” Valdez continues.
Further closing the gap between beauty and gaming is cosmetics brand Essence, who made their Twitch debut in partnership with marketing agency Ader, and popular streamer Emiru. The trio came together to host a namesake cosplay contest that streamed live on Twitch on October 25. Designed to adopt creativity and community, the contest featured different cosplay categories, and creators were able to submit entries via Reddit. Emiru and a panel of other Twitch streamers judged the entries, naming winners for five categories: cutest, funniest, chat favorite, creative, and craftsmanship. Winners received a prize of $7,500 each.
“At its core, Essence is fun makeup for fun people, and what’s more fun than cosplay?” says Jill Krakowski, Chief Marketing Officer at Cosnova, Inc., Essence Cosmetics’ parent company. “Knowing many of our consumers are in the gaming space, we’ve been exploring different ways to get involved. Social media has been pivotal in growing Essence and as the ultimate social platform for gamers, we feel Twitch offers an opportunity to connect with the gaming community in a way that resonates with the brand.”
Essence’s decision to partner with Emiru further advocates for gender inclusivity within gaming, as the streamer was the first female to join the OTK, or One True King, gaming group in January of this year. The Twitch user is also popularly known for defending female gamers across her social platforms.
“Gaming is ubiquitous and inclusive. It is everyone and everywhere and half of all gamers are female. At present, 35% of PC gamers are female and these are primarily Gen Z, it's not older demos playing mobile games. That's a misconception. Essence is leading the way by establishing both market and mind share in an untapped market,” says Shini Reddy Wark, Chief Growth Officer at Ader Gaming.
The cosmetic brand’s entry into Twitch came as a result of their success across other apps such as TikTok and Flip. “Essence’s fun-spirited brand ethos is a great fit for an audience immersed in and connected through play,” continues Wark. “We’re excited to produce this unique and interactive experience that enables a natural and meaningful connection between Essence and the gaming community. Gaming is a perfect venue for the individuality and expression that Essence provokes.”
The collaboration was met with genuine enthusiasm from Twitch participants. A comment on the live-streamed judges’ ceremony read, “You can tell everyone who entered had an awesome time making and being a part of something massive. The judges and the community/chat made it feel enjoyable for every audience from the professional cosplayers and the people who just enjoy games/shows/characters/memes. We can only hope for something like this again, with even more entries/categories/prizes and talking about everyone's amazing work. Thank you Essence.”
With beauty brands continuing to harness the power of the internet and social media to promote their core values, a sense of hope is being created that one day we will reach a point where both the beauty and gaming industries will be seen as genderless, allowing people to express themselves through whichever hobby they wish. For now, beauty and gaming communities alike must continue to come together to tackle inequality issues within their sectors, because as always, the more people who speak out, the louder the collective voice.
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