Thanks to its association with A-listers like Kim Kardashian, Amal Clooney and Miranda Kerr, newly acquired beauty label Charlotte Tilbury has long appealed to millennials. Now, it is setting its sights on Gen Z.
The makeup and skin-care brand teamed up with top beauty TikTok influencer Abby Roberts for a paid video campaign posted on Sunday to both Charlotte Tilbury’s and Roberts’ TikTok accounts. Known for its ability to drive social buzz among the Instagram generation since its founding in 2013, Charlotte Tilbury was acquired by Puig in June this year and is estimated to have a value of $1.2 billion. Now, the brand is strategizing to reach the next twenty-something audience through TikTok influencers.
“We’ve always been a digital-first company; it’s part of our brand DNA,” said the brand’s founder Charlotte Tilbury via email. “I’ve always believed it is essential for us to have an active presence across all channels; each has its own specialities and attracts its own unique audiences that we want to engage with.” The brand posted its first video on its TikTok account in March of this year.
“Social media channels are also huge outlets for trend starting and trend setting,” said Tilbury. “I see these channels as my daily diary, my TV show, my glossy publication, my billboard for my products and my instant messenger,” she said.
Millennial-friendly beauty brands that were founded in the early days of the social media era are increasingly adapting to new platforms and younger audiences. Beauty launches with top TikTok stars include Morphe with its Morphe 2 line in July and Ipsy’s Madeby Collective with Item Beauty in August.
Roberts, a 19-year-old self-taught makeup artist, has amassed 11.8 million TikTok followers with her elaborate transformations. She created videos for the partnership using three of Tilbury’s “10 Iconic Makeup Looks.” The group of 10 different makeup looks with names like the “Vintage Vamp” and “Golden Goddess” are used by the brand in makeup tutorial content and to sell full product sets to achieve each look. Looks featured by Roberts included the brand’s “Bella Sofia,” “Supermodel” and an exclusive “50s Hollywood Glam.” According to Roberts, the key for a successful beauty brand-influencer partnership on TikTok is staying true to the influencer’s style.
“I got to decide on the entirety of the content, based on what I think would work for Charlotte Tilbury’s brand, but also what my audience would respond well to,” she said. “From what I found, the most successful [partnerships] are where I have full control. The influencer, 100%, knows their audience better than anyone else does.” Other brands she has worked with in the past have included Anastasia Beverly Hills, Morphe, ColourPop and Maybelline.
Authenticity is also crucial for brands to reach Gen Z, said Roberts.
“Gen Z does not like being advertised to, whatsoever,” she said. “A lot of times, we’ll find that a brand comes across and gives us a really specific brief, and it just doesn’t work. It’s not flexible enough — the audience knows that it’s an advert and doesn’t respond well to that.”
“Every audience, including the Gen-Z demographic, is incredibly important to the brand,” said Tilbury, who has also enlisted her 26-year-old niece Sofia Tilbury as a brand ambassador. “Sofia helps us to develop a closer connection to the Gen-Z audience and build new relationships. She’s always teaching me about the latest social trends, from Instagram Reels to TikTok,” she said.
In addition to TikTok, the campaign with Roberts will be posted to Instagram Stories. Charlotte Tilbury has posted several videos on Instagram Reels, which has emerged as a main competitor to TikTok as the app faces a looming U.S. ban if it is not acquired within the week.
“I did post a couple of Reels and found it to actually be pretty successful, which is good to know,” said Roberts, who was granted early access to Reels and estimates that 40% of her TikTok audience is in the U.S. “If anything does happen to TikTok, I’m not going anywhere. But I feel pretty confident that nothing’s going to happen to TikTok — fingers crossed.”