More brands are discovering advertising opportunities and community-building within the online gaming world, and that includes hair-care brand Amika.
On July 31, Amika is sponsoring a gaming tournament on Twitch called Bestie Battle Valorant Tournament, which is the largest women and nonbinary Valorant tournament of summer 2023. Valorant is a free-to-play first-person tactical shooter game. The tournament, hosted in collaboration with gaming talent agency Bad Moon Talent and produced by BoomTV, aims to foster camaraderie, celebrate diversity, and support women and nonbinary creators within the gaming community. Though Amika has worked with gaming creators on Twitch, Instagram and Tiktok, this is the brand’s first large-scale gaming initiative. Amika’s branding will be present throughout the tournament, and the tournament will have a homepage presence on Twitch.
Four teams, each captained by a Valorant creator known by the usernames “Sydeon,” “Tokibbi,” “TIffae” and “Autumn,” will compete for a $40,000 prize pool. This will be the third-largest prize pool in Valorant history for a women and non-binary tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Yinsu Collins, alongside Katie Bedford and a gamer under the username “aEvilCat,” to provide commentary and analysis. Participants will also be encouraged to share their perspectives by streaming the matches on their personal channels, further reaching a wider gaming community. Past Valorant tournaments have seen a wide range of viewership, from a few hundred thousand people to well over 1.5 million views.
“We have so many different segments within our community,” said Chelsea Riggs, president of Amika. “[We focus on] how we can add value to people’s lives. Specific to gaming, there’s an appetite and a desire for people to be able to customize their avatars, or integrate [beauty] and express themselves within the game.”
Amika was acquired in May 2022 by private equity firm Bansk Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but BeautyMatter estimates that its 2023 full-year expected revenue is between $175 million and 200 million. Riggs said that professional hair-care sales make up 40% of the company’s revenue. It makes another 5% from international sales, and the remainder is a mix of wholesale retail and DTC. Amika’s core demographic is millennials, and it’s gaining traction with 18- to 24-year-olds, as well, she said.
Plenty of other cosmetics brands have ventured into the gaming space. In 2019, MAC Cosmetics was an early entrant by sponsoring TwitchCon. In 2021, E.l.f. Cosmetics then launched its own brand channel on Twitch, followed by Benefit Cosmetics hosting a gaming tournament. Amika is the first hair-care brand to sponsor a Valorant tournament.
According to Amika’s customer research in partnership with Mintel, 50% of hair-care consumers play video games a few times a week. And those users want to be able to customize their avatars with hair and branded integrations.
The primary focus of the sponsorship is brand awareness and elevating brand perception. Amika means “friend” in Esperanto, and the hopeful takeaway is that viewers and participants understand that Amika is a friendly, supportive brand and offers products available for all hair types. Amika plans to have additional undisclosed gaming activations and partnerships in the near future.
“We want to connect new audiences immediately to our brand values from the get-go. Within beauty advertising, it becomes very product-focused, like, ‘You have a problem, our products can help you,’” said Riggs.