From e-girl blush to colorful hair, the impact of Twitch’s cosplay influencers can be seen across mainstream beauty trends. Beauty brands are taking notice.
Starting this week, Essence Makeup is sponsoring a “Cosplay Contest” campaign on Twitch and Reddit, enlisting cosplay and League of Legends Twitch streamer Emiru as its host. Geared toward Gen Z, the contest is asking participants to submit their cosplay looks on Emiru’s Reddit community, and winners will be announced on her Twitch livestream on October 25. Essence’s first Twitch campaign is the latest example of beauty brands recognizing the beauty influencer of Twitch streamers and cosplayers as more beauty tutorials join gaming streams on Twitch.
“As a socially native brand, we thought this could be an interesting platform to engage with our consumers,” said Jill Krakowski, the CMO of Essence Makeup parent company Cosnova Inc., of Twitch. She described the campaign as “very top of funnel,” with a goal to “grow awareness with a new audience” in the gaming and cosplay communty. The brand’s current customer base is between the ages of 17 and 24.
Founded in 2001, Germany-based Cosnova produces affordable makeup brands Essence Makeup and Catrice Cosmetics, earning €467 million (US$552.4 million) in 2021. Essence Makeup is distributed worldwide, and can be found at major retailers including Ulta Beauty and Target in the United States.
The campaign will be promoted by Emiru (1 million Twitch followers) on her Twitch channel, as well as on Essence Makeup’s social channels. Entries will be judged by Emiru and other top Twitch streamers, including Jessica Nigri and Mizkif, for a chance to win prize money from a $30,000 pool. The October 28 livestream showcasing the winners will take place over the course of four hours.
Essence joins a small but growing number of large beauty brands that have made the foray into Twitch in recent years, including MAC Cosmetics, Maybelline, Benefit Cosmetics, Charlotte Tilbury, E.l.f. Beauty, OPI, Hero Cosmetics and Em Cosmetics.
“With Twitch, there’s a first-mover advantage. When brands come in early, they’re rewarded for it,” said Shini Wark, chief growth officer at agency Ader Gaming, which created the Essence campaign and works with brands on gaming-focused marketing campaigns. This is Ader’s second beauty brand Twitch campaign after Neutrogena, and Wark has seen growing interest from beauty.
Wark, who previously worked at Twitch, has seen the platform’s content expand far beyond gaming. Previously, Twitch required creators to be streaming games on livestreams, but “that’s all gone away,” she said.
In beauty, the cosplay influencer “get ready with me” livestream category has especially taken off on Twitch, said Krakowski. According to Wark, this can be a direct sales driver for brands.
“If Emiru has a look she’s showing on camera, saying she’s using these Essence products and how she’s using them, this will translate into other girls doing the exact same costume, replicating the look and buying the products,” said Wark.
Essence Makeup has prioritized emerging platforms, said Krakowski. It launched its first TikTok campaign in January 2022, and also sells through beauty short video e-commerce platform Flip.
While this is Essence’s first dedicated campaign, the brand is already planning more activity on Twitch.
“I foresee Essence partnering with cosplay influencers on Twitch at least a couple of times a year,” said Krakowski, who added that the brand plans on continuing to sponsor the Cosplay Contest in the future.