As the number of branded experiences in digital spaces continues to grow, so does the challenge of authentically connecting with young people in those spaces. This is particularly true for beauty and personal care brands as the next generation transforms the beauty industry with their influence and values.

Teens and older Gen Z audiences are currently shaping how the beauty industry operates. Beauty and personal care brands can start building strong, long-lasting relationships with the next generation as they grow by meeting them where they spend their time: in and around gaming.

Reaching Teens & Gen Z: The Power of Gaming

With the rise of new digital environments, the next generation has developed novel ways of making and maintaining friendships, developing and expressing their self identity, and discovering brands. And since 83% of US and UK youth aged 6-19 play video games and 90% watch game-related content, gaming platforms are a powerful way to reach them.

SuperAwesome’s upcoming research on Gen Z shows that gaming platforms offer them a chance to explore their identities, with Gen Z saying gaming contributes to shaping their views and personality. According to our research, 83% of Gen Z teens in the UK play at least eight hours of video games per week.

That passion paves the way for building connections to brands in the gaming world. In-game exposure drives in-store behavior, as the items young people see in games inspire them to want the items IRL.

Effective Marketing = Authentic Messaging

The way brands engage with younger audiences across digital channels requires authentic communication. Beauty and personal care products, specifically, have a direct impact on confidence. In fact, 65% of Gen Z Americans say they are more likely to purchase something if the model in an ad has a similar body structure to them. So it benefits brands to take special care with their messaging.

In order to effectively reach teens and Gen Z, brands need to understand that lifetime brand affinity starts with a single interaction. The next generation is at the peak of their influence over household spending and is further empowered with significant spending capacity of their own, with over $360B in disposable income in the US. Navigating a successful gaming strategy to reach them should be a top priority for beauty and personal care brands.

Case in Point: 5 Beauty Brands Doing Gaming Right

We’ve gathered five innovative examples of beauty brand activations designed to reach youth in and around the gaming ecosystem:

1. Maybelline
In a first for the brand, L’Oréal’s Maybelline New York is using a digital avatar (named May) for a campaign surrounding the launch of its new Falsies Surreal Extensions Mascara. The campaign includes both real-world elements (including a collab with model and global ambassador Gigi Hadid) and virtual elements, which capitalize on the fact that 58% of US adults follow at least one virtual influencer on social media.

2. Dove
When Dove’s research showed that gaming still reflects narrow, unrealistic beauty standards – despite 1.3B women and girls playing video games globally – the brand sprung into action. The result? Super U Story, the world’s first Roblox game designed to combat negative self-esteem and build body confidence in girls ages 9-16. With this initiative, Dove hopes to transform gaming into a positive space for girls.

In 2022, NARS launched a 90-day Roblox game activation (with updates every few weeks) called “NARS Color Quest,” aimed at 13- to 24-year-old Roblox users. Inspired by the brand’s blush – Laguna and Light Reflecting product franchises – the campaign had no monetization goals, choosing instead to focus on growing awareness with new audiences that were most likely unfamiliar with the brand.

4. NYX Professional Makeup/Benefit
NYX Professional Makeup and Benefit Cosmetics both sponsored booths at the 2022 TwitchCon, held in October for Twitch streamers and gamers. At the booths, attendees could create avatar makeup looks, have touch ups with makeup artists, and participate in digital “scavenger hunts” with beauty product prizes. Both brands have been actively working to tap into the female gaming audience. In August 2021, NYX Professional Makeup became the first cosmetics brand to partner with an esports team, while Benefit sponsored the Girlgamer festival in 2019 and launched its Twitch channel last year.

5. Armani Beauty
In 2022, Armani Beauty worked with SuperAwesome to debut in the metaverse. “Code City: Rewrite the Code” was launched on Fortnite in France, featuring immersive speed run mini-games inspired by the new Armani Code Parfum. SuperAwesome partnered with Armani Beauty at every stage of the project and managed the amplification campaign across Twitch, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Since September, “Code City: Rewrite the Code” has reached 6,893,811 views globally and the experience has secured an average playtime of 22 minutes. 

Engaging Youth Safely with SuperAwesome

Beauty and personal care is a category with constant experimentation, and brands need to become essential in order to engage with young people throughout each stage of their lives. As gaming touchpoints make it easier to reach youth audiences, SuperAwesome’s full range of solutions are a valuable resource for brands looking to successfully engage while respecting safety.

All of SuperAwesome’s tools prioritize safety, and include:

  • AwesomeAds:
    • AwesomeAds Marketplace: The largest youth digital content marketplace in the world, providing custom in-house creative formats across mobile apps, OTT/VOD, and web.
    • AwesomeAds for Social: Provides formats across social, including 112K YouTube channels curated by machine learning and human review for youth suitability and safety. 65 suitability points and vetting criteria ensure ads deliver against content that aligns with key audiences and brand values. 
    • AwesomeAds for In-Game: With 7B+ monthly in-game billboard impressions available, these ads scaled across 394+ games on consoles and mobile.
  • SuperAwesome Gaming: Insights-driven metaverse gaming programs designed to reach Gen Alpha and Gen Z.
  • SuperAwesome Creators: Influencer marketing and content creation for youth and family audiences.

SuperAwesome has the strategies and expertise to bring your brand into the gaming ecosystem. Contact our team to learn more about SuperAwesome’s innovative solutions.