As Roblox quickly becomes a go-to place for beauty brands to market themselves, Nars Cosmetics wants to get in while it’s hot.
On Tuesday, Nars launches a 90-day activation on the platform called Nars Color Quest, inspired by the brand’s blush, Laguna and Light Reflecting product franchises. These franchises are represented via four virtual tropical islands, each embodying creative cues of the brand. Nars is targeting 13- to 24-year-old Roblox users, who are most likely new to the brand. Nars’ parent company Shiseido shared in its fiscal year first-quarter earnings in May that Nars experienced “significant share gains, driven by the strong performance of new products and growth in e-commerce supported by digital marketing investments.”
“Ultimately, our goal is to pique curiosity and spark interest. It is a brand storytelling opportunity for an entirely new audience and also why we focused on core franchises that are recruitment vehicles for us,” said Dina Fierro, vp of global digital innovation and strategy at Nars Cosmetics.
Each island within Color Quest is home to a unique non-playable character (NPC), including founder and creative director François Nars and three other characters inspired by and representing the Nars product franchises. By engaging with Nars NPCs, Roblox community members can unlock special, super-charged abilities that help them advance through the experience. For example, by engaging with one of the NPCs, users can create bridges with the wave of a hand, allowing them to cross a molten-gold lava river inspired by the Laguna bronzer. Users can also earn badges and use virtual currency to purchase merchandise and virtual looks. Nars partnered with metaverse company Supersocial to design Color Quest.
During the 90-day activation, Nars is particularly interested in re-engaging users. To do so, Nars wanted to make Color Quest moderately challenging to complete, in order to trigger more than one gameplay session. Additionally, Nars will update the game every few weeks to offer newness to game players. Initially, at launch, there will be only three islands to explore, while the fourth will debut three weeks later. Future updates will also include new badges, merchandise and virtual makeup looks. Fierro said Nars plans to evolve Color Quest to become a permanent Roblox feature.
Nars has been diving deeper into gamified experiences, with Fierro calling 2021 a year of experimentation and 2022 as a year of solidifying the brand’s strategy. Throughout 2021, the brand launched programs within Animal Crossing, sponsored Twitch influencers’ livestream gaming sessions, worked with South Korean game developer and social media app Zepeto, and launched onto editorial fashion game app Drest.
Fierro said those activations opened her eyes to the potential for selling virtual goods in specific markets. The Zepeto activation resulted in selling over 715,000 virtual goods, for example. However, the goal of the Roblox campaign is not to monetize the experience yet, but instead to reach a newer audience unfamiliar with Nars.
“We are focused on developing [visually] rich environments that focus on brand storytelling and allow us to bring our core franchises to life in new ways,” she said. “We felt that Roblox presented a unique opportunity. There are a lot of gaming and metaverse environments, most of which are quite nascent. Roblox has an advantage with an incredibly engaged and globally scaled community.”
Roblox had 54 million daily active users in the first quarter, a 28% year-over-year growth and its highest ever. Glossy reported recently that Roblox has quickly become a platform of interest to beauty brands. Aside from Nars, other brands like Hally hair care, Farfetch’s beauty vertical and Givenchy Beauty have joined Roblox. Since going public in 2021, Roblox has been adding more features for brand activations to increase monetization opportunities. According to its most recent earnings call, these include validated brand accounts and an immersive advertising system.
“We believe what we’ve seen in games and play will [increasingly] move forward in brands, in music and, ultimately, in custom IP on our platform,” said David Baszucki, CEO of Roblox, in the first-quarter earnings call. “There’s enormous scalability in building a [user-generated space] where ultimately a brand like Lego would build a Lego experience on top of Roblox, and [increasingly] be able to present that as their unique experience. This is the direction we’re going.”
Promotional teasing of Color Quest began on Nars’ social channels on July 15, and the team will share the experience with Roblox reviewers on YouTube, where live or recorded gameplay videos are commonplace. Roblox users can access Color Quest by either searching on Roblox for topics like “beauty” or, more specifically, “Nars.” There will also be a landing page accessible from Roblox’s homepage, and Nars’ e-commerce and social channels will continue to direct people to Roblox.
“We anticipate there will be a good amount of interest in a beauty adventure game because there are a lot of users within Roblox that are interested in beauty,” said Fierro. “There’s also a whole class of Roblox influencers who review all of the new experiences, so we anticipate there will be a groundswell of conversation.”