As more and more beauty brands clamor for TikTok buzz, Revlon is tweaking its strategy for Gen Z.
On October 16, Revlon launched its first brand awareness-focused TikTok challenge, called #DoItBold, with influencers including like Loren Gray, Abby Roberts and Micah Couwenhoven. While Revlon has toyed with TikTok over the last year with challenges like #SlickUpYourLook in November 2019, past iterations have been tied to new launches or product. For this challenge, Revlon eschewed focusing on any one product, in favor of singularly amplifying itself among Gen Z. Like other beauty companies that have found success among younger fans on the platform, Revlon partnered with creative agency Movers+Shakers on concept, music and influencers.
“It’s been interesting to see how TikTok has changed in the last year” said Silvia Galfo, Revlon global brand president, who explained that she began talking with Movers+Shakers a little less than a year ago. “At the end of last year and even the beginning of this year, beauty [brands] weren’t really on TikTok and weren’t really sure what young kids were doing; that has been a real change and acceleration now because of Covid.”
Pre-pandemic, Revlon was struggling to find its footing in the indie-meets-digital beauty landscape and was dealing with an ongoing debt restructuring issue that still looms. In the most recent quarter, Revlon reported a net sales decline of 39% in August. The Revlon brand specifically saw sales decline 45% to $135 million for the quarter. But Revlon has company, category-wide; the mass beauty sector continues to struggle, per Nielsen. The overall category is down 9% for the four-week period ending October 3. Makeup, for its part, declined 19% during the same timeframe.
But this campaign, which is considered top-of-the-funnel marketing by Movers+Shakers CEO Evan Horowitz, did not have an obvious click-to-buy via Amazon or other Revlon retail partners. “For a level of virality, this type of campaign needs to go beyond your core fans,” he said. “It needs to be welcoming and inviting enough for someone who is not as familiar with you to have fun.”
This idea spurred the idea for the Revlon challenge to include “Bold,” “Bolder,” “Boldest” moments, to correspond to the company’s slogan of “Live Boldly.” Revlon’s challenge #DoItBold reached 1 billion views in the first day and 2 billion views in three days. It was the highest three-day view count out of any tracked Movers+Shakers hashtag challenge in 2020. Influencer engagement ranged from 15-20%, with Roberts yielding the highest at 24.5%. For comparison, E.l.f’s #eyeslipface challenge, which is about a year old, just reached over 6 billion views, and Movers+Shakers’ collective campaigns since late last year have reached over 70 billion views.
As with E.l.f. and NYX, Movers+Shakers helped Revlon create their own song for TikTok with musical group Wiidope and introduced the brand to a new guard of creators. On TikTok, the beauty company explained to fans that, “At Revlon we strive to live boldly in all that we do, from our makeup down to our dance moves,” and it asked followers to, “Tap into your bold, bad self by way of a TikTok video. Embrace your version of live boldly and level up with each verse.” Corresponding videos included those featuring Revlon makeup, but some focused solely on dancing (like the post by Zoi Lerma, aka @zoifishh, with 3.1 million TikTok followers) and fashion (including Couwenhoven’s video).
“The younger generation didn’t grow up with Revlon like I did. They may hear about it or see it, but we had to go back to basics and show what Revlon stands for,” said Galfo.
And though virality may not translate to sales from the get, Horowitz believes it will. “After E.l.f., everyone said to us, ‘Do for us what you did for E.l.f.,” but that’s not what they wanted. They wanted to be their authentic self, and crack that playbook of art and science on TikTok. Brand awareness challenges aren’t the best vehicle to build shopping carts, but in a week, fans will think your brand is cooler, and that will.”