Maybelline is currently on a roll, dominating headlines for its key brand initiatives and successful sales moments with Gen Z. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Or maybe it’s Trisha Ayyagari, global brand president of Maybelline New York.
In Piper Sandler’s bi-annual Taking Stock with Teens survey for spring 2023, data showed that Maybelline was the No. 3 top cosmetics brand with teenagers, just after E.l.f Cosmetics and Rare Beauty. Maybelline sales grew 16% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to an earnings report from parent company L’Oréal Group in February. Previous Glossy reporting, citing Launchmetrics data, showed that Maybelline’s Sky High Mascara dominated social media buzz in February, in great part due to TikTok.
“[A brand] can have mass appeal, but it also has to be personal,” said Ayyagari. “Those two concepts, to me, are different. It’s not that every product works on everybody, it’s more that everyone is welcome into the Maybelline portfolio. … The No. 1 [focus for marketers] is to be extremely connected to your consumer and to always listen to their evolving needs.”
Staying connected to consumers today means broadening the scope of where and how to engage with them. In Aug. 2022, Maybelline partnered with mobile game Zynga to reach “hyper-casual” Gen-Z gamers with its own game that was based on its mascaras. This was quickly followed by a Halloween-themed virtual shopping space called Maybelline Virtual Loft on the brand’s own website. Then, in Nov. 2022, Maybelline embraced the metaverse through a multi-brand beauty partnership with the cross-game avatar platform Ready Player Me. It’s now providing exclusive makeup and hairstyles for avatar creation that can be used in over 4,000 platforms and apps worldwide.
In addition, Maybelline has expanded upon its mental health initiative called Brave Together, which began in 2020. Brave Together plans to donate $10 million to various domestic and global NGOs, as well as support 1 million mental health conversations from 2020-2025. Most recently, in May, Maybelline tapped Pinterest’s Creator Editorial Spotlight feature to promote mental health resources.
“We have significantly evolved our brand image over the past few years,” said Ayyagari. “Maybelline was historically rooted in fashion, but we wanted to ensure that the representation of talent was more inclusive — the faces of true New Yorkers. It’s not just skin tone and lifestyle, but it’s also age.”
Since 2020, there has been a massive upheaval in the beauty industry, based on inclusivity and representation, social media and influencers, and even the products that are selling. Maybelline has benefited from its mass price point positioning amid economic uncertainty and rising inflation. It’s also leaned on its bevy of new products, including mascaras, as well as its clean and vegan product assortment, and the overall resurgence of the makeup category.
The broader mass makeup category saw sales grow 15% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, according to data from industry data firm Circana. Its growth exceeded that of the mass skin care, fragrance and hair care categories. Ayyagari, for one, is well poised to seize on this momentum for Maybelline.
“We’ll [continue to] see pendulum swings back and forth [in makeup]. In 2017, the rise of influencers transformed makeup routines, where people went from using foundation, concealer and lipstick to then using a 12-step facial routine,” she said. “Now people want a simpler [approach]. That’s a great opportunity for Maybelline, because that’s what we stand for.”
Click here for the full list of top marketers.