CBI Case Study: How Beauty Brands Work With IP to Reach Young Consumers

Chinese influencers helped promoted the Clarins x Marvel collaboration

Cosmetics brands were among the big winners of last week’s Singles’ Day shopping festival. Along with the usual discounts, brands deployed  a variety of marketing techniques such as limited edition products, special gift boxes, celebrity endorsements, and livestreams hosted by leading influencers. 

IP collaborations were another strategy that enjoyed a breakout moment during this year’s Singles’ Day, and they have been especially concentrated among beauty and personal care brands. Vision Star Media compiled a non-exhaustive list of more than 40 collaborations between domestic and overseas beauty brands and popular IP sources such as Disney and Sanrio’s Hello Kitty. 

In general, overseas brands prefer working with established IP such as Disney, Pokemon and Marvel, which support brand-building and target mid-to-high-end consumers, with collaborations that are typically meant for a global launch. Meanwhile, local beauty brands are more likely to use domestic IP with a female audience or traditional cultural IP to enhance brand image and draw younger consumers. While animation IP is very popular, the resulting products rarely look cartoony. 

Below, we look at several popular cosmetics and IP collaborations released for Singles’ Day 2019. 

Clarins x Marvel

French luxury cosmetics meet American comics in this unexpected collaboration created specifically for the Chinese market. The limited edition makeup set includes a lipstick, cushion, lip perfector, and lip oil, each representing one of four female superheroes: Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and The Wasp, with designs that evoke their costumes. A series of small bags were designed to fit into a gift box with the four products. To promote the set Clarins engaged four Chinese influencers, each acting as an ambassador for one of the four items, with video tutorials on how to use the products for the best effect. 

Perfect Diary x Chinese National Geographic

In just three years, the Chinese direct-to-consumer brand Perfect Diary has propelled itself to a billion-dollar valuation and the top of Tmall’s beauty charts with its innovative marketing strategies, which have included a range of creative collaborations. Following the success of its partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum and Discovery Channel, the brand turned to the riches found within China’s own backyard for this year’s Singles’ Day. Its new collaboration with China National Geographic takes the country’s natural landscapes as the inspiration for makeup palettes. Each of the four sets of 16 eyeshadows is based on the shades found in Chinese geographic features such as the reds of the Danxia Landforms and the blues of the Tibetan plateau. On Weibo, the topic “Perfect Diary geographic eyeshadow” was heavily promoted by beauty influencers, and has been viewed more than 110 million times, while transactions on Perfect Diary’s Tmall flagship store exceeded 130,000 since pre-sales were launched. 

Meiking x “Mo Dao Zu Shi”

Chinese beauty brand Meiking’s partnership with the animated fantasy series “Mo Dao Zu Shi” (魔道祖师, aka “Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”) incorporated elements of the show’s IP into the design of new makeup products and beauty accessories such as cosmetics brushes and mirrors. This summer’s hit Tencent Video drama “The Untamed” was based on the same source material as “Mo Dao Zu Shi,” allowing Meiking to draw on the support of “Untamed” fans for its new line.

The collaboration’s monochromatic eyeshadow set sold out almost immediately when the products launched on October 21, while approximately 10,000 gift boxes, 28,000 eight-color eyeshadow sets, and 75,000 loose powder boxes were sold on the first day. 

Nattitude Shampoo x “Frozen 2”

Disney’s “Frozen 2” has secured a November 22 day-and-date release in China, and the Chinese brand Nattitude partnered with Disney to release a “Frozen Shining Gift Box” ahead of the premiere. The simple blue exterior of the box is embellished with a snowflake, and when opened it reveals a light-up bottle of shampoo set against an icy forest backdrop, an innovative design that gives the set a collectible quality.