The soundtrack to my 2018 holiday road trip consisted entirely of songs by Queen – songs from the Bohemian Rhapsody movie to be exact. I was rooting for Rami Malek the whole awards season and was extremely happy when he received his first Oscar for the portrayal of Freddie Mercury while being nominated for the first time (Leo DiCaprio, please forgive me if you are reading this; I was rooting for you all those years, too!). I know I was not the only one; Rami and the movie itself have made big waves. It was therefore very interesting for me to learn that two Instagram posts of Rami getting ready for the Golden Globes red carpet had attracted far more likes than a post featuring the actor actually walking it. In those two pictures posted by Rami’s groomer, he was shown wearing Tinted Face Oil by Kosås. Was it the very idea of a man wearing makeup that resulted in all the likes?
The beauty world has been changing before our eyes. From being the supplier of products with a primary purpose to enhance one’s appearance, beauty is gradually transforming into a part of society that advocates human rights. Inclusivity, representation, and equality – in the beauty community these words are becoming as common as attractive, sexy, and feminine used to be.
As the call for inclusivity goes beyond race, size, and age, beauty brands are reacting by implementing marketing campaigns that address what is becoming the new norm. There has been a shift toward unisex in makeup. We are observing an increasing number of brands relying on male brand ambassadors to promote cosmetics. They are challenging social norms and fighting stereotypes. Male beauty influencers are among the most popular YouTube personalities. In fact, Jeffree Star is the number one beauty YouTuber and number five YouTuber overall based on YouTube generated income, according to a Forbes report.
Many brands are taking part in the gender-neutral movement by featuring male models on their social media channels or sponsoring male-generated content, and our data has shown that the consumer reaction has been positive. NPD’s weekly U.S. prestige beauty data shows that during one week in late 2018, one setting powder product saw a 40 percent increase in unit sales following a sponsored Instagram post by a male influencer. In fact, this spike in unit sales was higher after the social media post than it was for Black Friday or the rest of the holiday season.
Being inclusive on every level is no longer an option; it’s a requirement. For brands that are not currently planning to launch lines or products catering beyond the female market, one way to take part in this movement is through authentic marketing efforts.