As part of its ongoing embrace of new digital platforms, makeup brand Nars Cosmetics is one of the earliest adopters of the new beauty feature on editorial fashion game app Drest.
Starting on October 9, the beauty brand will be featured in a nine-day campaign on the app, allowing users to create customized beauty looks on virtual model avatars with 30 different Nars products including eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip color and blush. Users can also add the looks to mood boards and click through to purchase products on Nars’ site.
“It was something that seemed like a really interesting opportunity, as we’ve definitely been doing quite a bit of an immersion into gaming,” said Dina Fierro, the vp of global digital strategy and social engagement at Nars Cosmetics.
Founded by former editor-in-chief of British Harper’s Bazaar and Porter Magazine Lucy Yeomans, two-year-old Drest functions as a digital, high-fashion version of paper dolls for adults. Users can complete challenges and earn points by creating virtual looks. In addition to in-app virtual purchases and an affiliate link partnership with Farfetch, the app also features sponsored brand challenges. So far, these have mostly been with fashion partners including Prada, Chloé and Stella McCartney, as well as a recent foray into jewelry with Cartier. Beauty is its latest expansion.
“Beauty just was such an important part for our players. Every time we do surveys, it was our number one feature they asked for,” said Yeomans. The app had previously worked with celebrity makeup artist Mary Greenwell to create virtual makeup looks for the game in May 2020. Nars is the second beauty partner to collaborate with the app for a branded campaign, following Gucci Beauty, which launched on October 1. “We knew that branded beauty was something that we wanted to introduce into the game.”
Nars is using the campaign to showcase its core products as well as highlight the introduction of its new Air Matte lip color shades. Users are able to apply makeup looks with varying intensity levels, allowing for 62 total variants.
“A lot of consumers actually are treating the experience in-game almost as virtual try-on,” said Fierro. Brand discovery is another goal for app sponsors.
“I would say Drest is largely a platform for discovery, which we know is one of the biggest challenges of luxury e-commerce — how do you get your brand out there? How do they find you, amidst all the noise and all the amazing products?” said Yeomans.
The competition aspect of the game is also a draw, with high-profile figures brought in to select winning looks to win prizes — Christian Louboutin served as a celebrity judge for a previous competition in July 2020. Once the Nars campaign ends on October 18, the brand’s global artistry director Jane Richardson will be selecting the creators of 15 winning looks to receive a special set of Air Matte products.
This is not Nars’ first initiative in gaming. In February 2021, it also created digital looks for Animal Crossing, and back in 2016, it developed looks for Kim Kardashian’s virtual game. Most recently, it created makeup looks for the virtual avatar app Zepeto.
“The scale of gaming is unavoidable and impossible to ignore,” said Fierro. “We do feel that it really makes sense for us to show up in these environments where consumers, and in many instances, our core consumers, are spending so much of their time. [It] allows them to have maybe a little bit more of an immersive experience with the brand than social media allows.”
Drest currently uses a range of virtual models with varying skin tones and body types, with plans to eventually allow people to create their own avatars based on their photos, said Yeomans. The tech for people to place their own photos in the app is “probably just over a year” away, she said.
The app has more in store for beauty, which is temporary for now but will be added into the app on a permanent basis early next year, said Yeomans. Drest has also included hand poses with makeup looks, which will feature looks created by collaborating nail artists in 2020.