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From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

e.l.f-ing Amazing: TikTok's First Beauty Brand Advertising Campaign

Finalist in TikTok


Searches for e.l.f. Cosmetics have been on a steady decline for the past two years while other competitors on both the mass and premium side have held steady or increased. 

While Millennial and Gen Z were e.l.f. Cosmetics’ largest customer base, they were declining from acquiring new customers. The limited audience footprint negatively impacted brand demand and conversion tactics.

e.l.f. Cosmetics needed a disruptive campaign to facilitate increased awareness, build brand loyalty and drive revenue growth. This campaign needed to activate Millennial and Gen Z segments with an integrated channel strategy that leveraged strong attention from the audiences across the social ecosystem. 

In May 2019, we created the e.l.f.-ing Amazing campaign. The goal of this campaign was to increase awareness and demand for e.l.f. Cosmetics by driving reach and engagement through a full-funnel digital marketing approach. To increase awareness and demand, the campaign would 

Strategy and Execution

The e.l.f.-ing Amazing campaign highlighted eight creative and interchangeable concepts in the form of static images and videos that ranged from 6 to 30-seconds. We strategically identified hyper segments of e.l.f. Cosmetics’ audience—such as boy beauty—to drive home brand inclusivity. These creative assets were also positioned as influencer-focused and product-focused. 

To maximize e.l.f. Cosmetics’ presence in the social ecosystem, we launched Snapchat and Tiktok. We revived e.l.f.'s Pinterest platform by launching ads and Pinterest’s native shopping feature. All three social platforms were integral to the success of the campaign since they have the highest Gen Z usage and complemented the velocity and volume of Facebook and Instagram. 

Facebook and Instagram profile presence was ramped to scale. Additionally, all of e.l.f Cosmetics’ social channels now included brand and direct response (DR) messaging to ensure a true, full-funnel digital marketing approach. 

We emphasized cohesive cross-channel messaging to ensure the e.l.f.-ing Amazing campaign had full impact. On Social, we activated our targeted audience with brand storytelling and product differentiators. We strategically positioned e.l.f. 's creative concepts for success per-platform.

Birth of the Hashtag Challenge 

TikTok’s beta platform has acquired a mass following. When the e.l.f.-ing Amazing campaign launched, we decided to test this breakout channel and fully delve into the Gen Z audience. e.l.f. Cosmetics’ creative concepts and assets aligned with TikTok’s social and entertainment-driven content.

By testing and exceeding benchmarks, we proved there was an audience on TikTok which led to the #eyeslipsface challenge. As a result, e.l.f. Cosmetics was the first beauty brand to do a brand advertising campaign and hashtag challenge on TikTok. The hashtag challenge has aggregated approximately 4.4 billion views.  


Caught in-between the categories of mass and premium beauty brands, e.l.f. Cosmetics successfully rebranded itself and embraced unconventionality in the influencer-dominated beauty industry. Making waves on frequented Gen Z social platforms like TikTok will be the way we help e.l.f. Cosmetics continuously break through the stagnation.

The e.l.f.-ing Amazing campaign garnered 31 million video views and 548,000 new users to the website within 90 days. Throughout the three months, e.l.f.’s audience had consistent engagement and reached and a high click-through-rate. CPMs and CPCs were minimal.

The biggest key performance indicator of the success of this campaign was the video completion. Benchmark-exceeding video completion click-through-rates are below:


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Tinuiti, e.l.f. Cosmetics


Entry Credits