I am a proud Millennial. I look fondly on memories of playing with my Skip It, being obsessed with gel pens, playing MASH with my friends to find out what my future would hold, and having what seemed like a million Tamagotchi’s that all inevitably died when parenthood exhausted me. These memories are part of who I am, and also characterize my distinct recollection of times before social media and smartphones dominated our daily interactions. These memories not only impact who I am, but also what I purchase.
According to a Forbes article I read recently, “The best marketing campaigns are timely and relevant but also authentic with a strong emotional hook to capture the heart.” It only seems obvious, then, why brands leverage emotion and nostalgia within the makeup category, especially as a means of reversing makeup’s slowed growth by 9 percentage points to 5 percent.*
This emotional strategy is already taking hold. In late 2016, indie brand Storybook Cosmetics launched a collection of five makeup brushes inspired by magic wands from the Harry Potter series for $55, with a limited quantity and online-only strategy. As a fan of the book series since I was in third grade, I can understand why the brushes were quick to sell out and why the brand has amassed a total of over 9,000 consumer-generated posts on Instagram tagged #storybookcosmetics. More recently, Benefit Cosmetics launched their five-piece Benefit x Wonder Woman collection to celebrate the superhero film. The HSN-exclusive kit contains hero products (pun intended) like the Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain and They’re Real! Mascara in a Wonder Woman-inspired cosmetic bag for a steal of $49. Sticking with the movie theme, Bésame Cosmetics has recently begun teasing its upcoming September launch of the 1937 Snow White Collection that will include lipsticks, cream rouges, and lip balms with colors identical to those original animators used in the film. GlamGlow is also preparing for a nostalgic fall 2017 launch, as the brand’s GravityMud Treatment will be released in green and gold limited edition colors inspired by the Power Rangers. The nostalgic and emotional trend in makeup seems to be coming full circle as Storybook Cosmetics, notably a brand whose entire strategy leverages this trend effectively, will be launching a Mean Girls eye shadow palette this fall.
One might argue that the excitement surrounding these products lies within the fact that they are new launches. My rebuttal to this is that they represent so much more than just products. Harry Potter introduced us to a world where anything is possible; Wonder Woman and the Power Rangers taught us the power of confidence; the original Snow White instilled in us the meaning of friendship and a statement red lip; and Mean Girls represents everyone’s high school experience in one form or another. Brands like the aforementioned are leveraging these franchises in a way that not only captures our attention with intriguing product, but also resonates with us on a deeper, more emotional level. An emotional connection is, at the end of the day, what all brands strive for.
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, January-June 2017