Sales in the mass beauty segment slightly improved in the last four weeks to about -1% per Nielsen (from -2% in August), and E.l.f. Cosmetics is once again the standout story.
Jeffries equity analyst Stephanie Wissink listed E.l.f. as the only stock in the category to buy on Tuesday, leaving out competitors such as L’Oréal, Coty and Revlon. “E.l.f continues to meaningfully outperform the category, suggesting improving share gains on a relative basis. There are no signs of demand slowing,” she said.
But E.l.f. is not resting on its laurels despite successful marketing and messaging campaigns in store and with influencers over the course of the last year. On Friday, it debuted its first TikTok campaign and brand page. Prior, E.l.f. had no brand profile on the platform, but an organic #elfcosmetics hashtag has over 3.5 million views. It will follow this up with a product collaboration with Bangladeshi-American, plus-sized and Muslim influencer Nabela Noor on Oct. 6, which will be exclusive to Ulta Beauty.
TikTok has become a popular platform for many beauty companies, and, as such, brands are eager to tap into its appeal both from a paid perspective (like Too Faced) and unpaid, as was the case with Marc Anthony Hair Care. But E.l.f. does not want to be just another beauty brand on the platform. For its new #eyeslipsface campaign, it is incorporating TikTok’s music roots by creating an original song inspired by 2 Chainz and Iggy Azalea written by Grammy-winning songwriter Ill Wayno and sung by Holla FyeSixWun.
“We have been focused on recharging our brand to amplify that E.l.f. is for every eye, lip and face. As a digitally native beauty brand, we’ve always been focused on engaging with our consumers,” said Tarang Amin, E.l.f. chairman and CEO. “The campaign gives our consumers a unique place to celebrate music, movement and their own diverse beauty, and reflects our commitment to authenticity and inclusiveness.”
With Eos, TikTok worked with the beauty brand to identify the “Sam Feldt” song used in its marketing blitz, but for the E.l.f. campaign, the platform encouraged the brand to create its own music that would set it apart, said E.l.f. CMO Kory Marchisotto. E.l.f. worked with TikTok influencers like Stephanie Margarucci, best known as BeastEater with 3.6 million fans, and Rodney Lee, aka Kidrl, with 3.7 million fans. E.l.f. had not previously worked with any of the influencers featured in the campaign.
E.l.f. is not directing customers to any product like the aforementioned beauty brands, and the campaign is not tied to a new launch; however, it is a paid campaign — the company would not disclose its spend for this activation.
“We not only want to be where our audience is, but we want to use the power of the platform and lean into dance and music. An original soundtrack hasn’t been done before,” said Marchisotto. “We created the kind of music that the TikTok audience likes and with the kind of challenge they respond to.”
After its foray into TikTok, E.l.f. will indeed be debuting new product via Noor’s first product collaboration. Though Noor has not collaborated with a brand before in this capacity, she was recently appointed to be a partner and mentor for the Sephora Squad influencer incubation program. An Instagram post where Noor announced the E.l.f. collaboration has already garnered more than 107,000 likes — she has 1.2 million followers on the platform.
“We have been doing very deep consumer insights about what customers love about our brand, and it is our values of empowerment and giving a voice to other people’s stories. Nabela is all about that,” said Marchisotto. “This launch is a platform for her story. Nabela gives a face to people who have historically been left behind.”