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e.l.f. Cosmetics: eyes.lips.face.sticky.

Entered in Branded Content, Insights & Trends, Multi-Platform Partnership


In January 2023, e.l.f. saw an opportunity to kick off the year with a moment so disruptive, they'd outdo even themselves: A spot on the world's biggest stage: Super Bowl Sunday.

With just three weeks until Game Day, e.l.f. enlisted our agency, SHADOW, to concept, script, cast, produce, shoot and edit the brand’s first-ever commercial, then amplify it with a “surround sound” integrated PR strategy.

Our objectives included: 


We moved quickly to develop the creative, leaning on product insights, cultural insights, and wisdom gleaned from our many TikTok campaigns with the brand. We decided to center e.l.f.’s Power Grip Primer as the hero – a not-so-obvious choice, were it not for the 70 million posts the product racked up on social media, in praise of its stickiness and long-lasting effects. 

To bring the creative to life, we partnered with two talents who resonated deeply in culture at that time: actress, Jennifer Coolidge and White Lotus director/writer, Mike White. The following insights drove our casting decision:

The commercial was one component of a broader campaign; we made strategic choices to amplify our 30 seconds into a cultural moment. We pulsed out assets and information for a steady stream of news, and ensured every aspect of the campaign (talent, hero product, platform) had its own PR hook. We sent tailored press pitches across verticals to ensure everyone received the message: e.l.f.’s Power Grip Primer is sticky as f*ck. 

One of the biggest challenges was simply beating the clock. With only three weeks, we needed to concept, script, cast, produce, shoot & edit the brand’s first-ever commercial, and amplify it with an integrated PR strategy. Expectations were sky-high, as the Super Bowl marked a first-ever foray for any cosmetics brand. We had to spread the word & ensure press from every industry vertical and across every channel - even those that wouldn't typically cover e.l.f. news or the beauty industry - included the spot in their coverage - from beauty to entertainment, men's interest, hype culture, across broadcast, digital, podcasts, radio and more. In less time than most campaigns get off the ground, we successfully pulled off blanket coverage and exceeded all objectives. 


Results surpassed all objectives. The campaign catapulted the Power Grip Primer to the first-ever primer in mass cosmetics history to earn #1 SKU, with one primer sold every four seconds. 

The campaign garnered 10 billion earned media impressions in 24 hours and 57 billion globally, spanning media that over-indexes with Gen Z, millennials, as well as Gen X readers. Over a five-day period immediately following the Big Game, the campaign generated over 65 million paid and organic media impressions across TV, TikTok, and Instagram, elevating #dolphinskin to the third-fastest growing beauty hashtag. saw an increase in new users of 68% week-over-week and a 459% increase in Amazon best-seller rank within the first 24 hours.

The commercial ranked fifth in total social mentions of any Super Bowl spot and was the *only* spot of the top five that was not a national media buy. Rather, this was a locally Owned & Operated + Digital Streaming Buy for the Big Game.

Finally, e.l.f.’s brand sentiment hit a February high on Sunday 2/12 - reaching an incredible 82% net positive sentiment. Plus, the brand’s leading lady, Jennifer Coolidge, was ranked 1st in audience sentiment of any celebrity Super Bowl spot.


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