Swamp ogre Shrek is the latest in-demand beauty collab partner, thanks to his meme-obsessed, devoted online fan base.
On Sunday, clean nail polish startup LaPierre Cosmetics launched its new “Shrek-ish” collaboration collection to celebrate the cult film’s 20-year anniversary. Created in partnership with DreamWorks, the collab is the latest example of a beauty brand creating collectible items that can serve as merch for avid online fandoms. The collection launched exclusively on the brand’s Instagram shop and was featured in Instagram’s Drops section, and will be available via DTC and at Macy’s starting on November 1.
“’Shrek’ was such a monumental film; it [introduced] a different animation in 2001,” said Brandi Blocker, founder of LaPierre Cosmetics. “I thought it was a huge challenge and super fun because we love all the characters.”
Blocker landed the partnership after emailing DreamWorks parent company Universal Pictures for months.
“I didn’t take no for an answer. And I kept calling and emailing, so they just eventually gave me the opportunity to pitch the deck, and they loved it and accepted it. It was amazing,” she said. While she had initially pitched a different film, they asked her to suggest others and she researched the studio’s catalog. When she saw the enthusiasm of “die-hard ‘Shrek’ fans” online, she knew which film to go with.
“It was important in a very symbolic way as a small Black woman-owned business to be able to have a collaboration of this magnitude,” said Blocker.
Online “Shrek” fans are devoted and intense, creating memes that have become ubiquitous on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram. With the 20th anniversary taking place this year, “Shrek” has reached a new level of virality in 2021. Animated “Shrek” filters proliferate across Instagram. The hashtag #shrek has 7.4 billion views on TikTok, with sounds from “Shrek” frequently becoming trends. People have also used the trend to mobilize for grassroots political efforts–in September, teens organized on TikTok to spam Texas’ abortion bounty tip line with NSFW Shrek memes. “Shrek” fans also gather in real life at an annual “Shrek” festival in Wisconsin, while self-described “Shreksperts” will hold an online “Shrek” academic conference in November.
In addition, trendy “Shrek” merch is in high demand this year; in August, streetwear giant Supreme announced a “Shrek” collaboration.
This is also not the first “Shrek” nail polish or beauty collab. In 2010, OPI launched a line of “Shrek” nail polishes, while South Korea-based K-beauty retailer Olive Young has sold “Shrek” sheet masks and clay masks.
Cult cartoon characters and other fictional characters have become as prolific for beauty collabs as influencers–everyone from SpongeBob to Baby Yoda has had a beauty collection in recent years. With entertainment-related merch items, megafans often buy one set to use and one to hold onto as a collector’s item.
“I definitely feel like it’s a collector’s item,” said Blocker. The collection will be limited edition and is rolling out in time for the holiday season.
“Some films are just classic films. There are some that people are in love with, and this just happens to be one of those films,” said Blocker.
The brand will tap into the “Shrek” meme world to promote the collection across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. The “Shrek” memes “are absolutely hilarious,” said Blocker. “We want to especially share the TikToks that are shared on social media.”