Last month, American cosmetics brand e.l.f. (short for EyesLipsFace) expanded its marketing efforts for its recently launched Power Grip Primer to include the Sticky Shop Merch Collection, which completely sold out within a few days.
Announced on the heels of its well-received Super Bowl commercial featuring actress Jennifer Coolidge, the Sticky Shop Merch Collection’s success indicates the greater need for cosmetics and personal beauty care product companies to diversify creativity in marketing campaign efforts to better resonate with and reach targeted consumer demographics.
To learn more about the eyes.lips.face sticky campaign, the use of viral social media as a vehicle for the campaign’s success, and plans for future merchandizing launches as a marketing tool, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Melinda Fried, Head of Corporate Communications at e.l.f. Beauty for her insights.
About e.l.f. Beauty
Founded in Oakland, California in 2004 by business partners Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba, the original collection of thirteen cosmetic products and tools was conceptualized based on the idea of providing women with inexpensive, high-quality beauty product options. Since that time, product offerings have expanded to include over 300 products including eyeliners, lip glosses, blushes, bronzers, foundations, primers, and professional tools.
Today, e.l.f. products are available through its e-commerce website as well as in retail stores including Target, K-Mart, Dollar General, and Walmart in eighteen countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, and Spain. e.l.f’s cruelty-free products have relied heavily on a combination of e-mail marketing and social media for successful product promotion, and this year’s Super Bowl commercial marked the first time the brand has ventured into television commercials to promote a product launch.
About the Sticky Shop Merch Collection drop
The Power Grip primer has been so well received by consumers that it is currently the #1 primer product in the US, with an estimated one tube sold every 3.7 seconds, according to a recent press release. “When Power Grip Primer first launched, our community was entertained by and enamored with the SQ sticky quotient; so much so, they coined it Sticky AF and other names,” Fried explained. “Once we realized the viral power of the product, the entertainment value of the stickiness, and how much fun our community was having with it, we knew it was time to lean in harder than ever before,” which was the starting point for the Sticky Shop Merch Collection.
As “e.l.f. continues to attract a highly engaged audience via digital platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, platforms that have been instrumental in measuring the success of Power Grip Primer,” said Fried, the brand has sought out increasingly creative means to better reach their targeted consumer demographic, which includes everyone from teenagers to men and women in their forties and fifties.
This sparked the idea to launch the brand’s first ever Super Bowl commercial, and e.l.f. “saw the unique opportunity to lean into its entertaining value creating our first tv commercial with the stickiest icon, Jennifer Coolidge, who is a true fan of e.l.f., to bring a level of authenticity, humor, beauty and e.l.f.ing energy,” Fried shared. “The commercial alone received a groundbreaking 50 billion impressions globally, and it generated the highest positive sentiment among celebrities in the Big Game ads (according to Influential),” and this success spurred the development and subsequent launch of the Sticky Shop.
Available limited-edition merchandise included the Sticky Patch Varsity Jacket with included hidden sewn-in sticky patches, the Sticky Patch Hat, set of eight embroidered collectable Power Grip Patches, and the Power Grip Silme(r) – all “hot drop merchandise that are sticky, grippy and tied to a good cause,” Fried stated.
Charitable donation and future merchandizing plans
One of the key elements to the Power Grip Primer marketing campaign is its charitable tie-in: the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). As a brand, e.l.f. Beauty has committed a $100,000 donation to the organization, and pledged a further $25,000 donation from the proceeds of the Sticky Shop to the cause.
In its recent press release, Laurie Lam, Chief Brand Officer at e.l.f. Beauty explained that “our donation will support research and educational programs at WDC to inspire and engage young girls in marine life conservation and help them discover career pathways rooted in STEM.” The connection between the WDC’s conservation efforts and the support of e.l.f. Beauty speaks directly to consumers who value a sense of purpose in their purchasing and has further propelled successful sales numbers.
As the Sticky Shop sold out of its merchandise in just a few days, there is strong support for e.l.f. to potentially consider future campaigns incorporating merch drops. “We have our ear to the ground listening to what our community wants, and we look to deliver it to them at e.l.f. speed with premium quality and at OMG mic drop prices,” said Fried. Further, “if our community is requesting additional sticky hot merch drops, or any others for that matter, there will certainly be new collections in our future.”