Self-branding is often perceived as consumer willingness to make a premium purchase with aspirational character, in a bid to achieve or project a certain image of the self. However, the need to express one’s likes, passions or approach to life also calls for more light-hearted products that offer an enjoyable experience and display personal interests. Pop culture themes answer this need. The glorious return of the 90s and ‘early naughties’ styles in fashion triggers the idea of coupling makeup with ‘cult’ TV show licenses. Such releases target consumers who see makeup product functionality as secondary to its image-building character.
Personalisation has been one of the major trends in the personal care sector with brands usually providing a serious take on the theme. Products with carefully selected ingredients, highlighted complexion suitability, or socially and environmentally related messages answer to skin-related needs and align with personal beliefs. Pop culture and TV show-inspired beauty expand the scale of the trend, bringing in a feel-good sentimental experience. Such focus put on the product unique ‘vibe’ may excite fatigued consumers and help brands stand out in the increasingly saturated makeup market. Furthermore, using 1990s and 2000s TV shows as product inspiration suggests millennials as the main target of the recent wave of launches. Indeed, according to GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 global consumer survey, 56% of millennials globally said that how well the product or service is tailored to their needs and personality either always or often influences their choice, the highest result of all surveyed demographic cohorts.
The seasonal releases of TV-inspired make-up aim at delivering the mix of comfort and excitement, replicating the feeling consumers attach to their favourite show. This relatively new way of targeting shoppers has been increasingly explored mainly by budget to medium-price brands that traditionally focus on frequent limited-edition releases. The most recent examples include Wet n Wilds Saved by the Bell range, with a focus on eye and lip products inspired by the show’s characters and their relationships. The ‘refreshing bubblegum scent’ incorporated in the products in the range ‘brings back all those sweet high school memories.’ Ulta’s Gilmore Girls range combines shower and bath products with make-up inspired by the famous show depicting a mother-daughter relationship in the town of Stars Hollow. For the Simpsons’ fans, Makeup Revolution has combined the shows’ cult characters with Halloween themes for customised seasonal product editions, incorporating ‘slime’ and ‘horror’ into the range of lip kits, face palettes, lip masks and other accessories.
The nostalgia-driven releases of TV show-themed products target consumers’ desire to re-live their younger years and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of their favourite TV programmes. This seemingly odd combination of beauty and tv brings a new angle to personalisation trends. These tactics may prove to be effective in expanding the brand’s reach over those consumers who prioritise an enjoyable consumption experience and the ‘story behind’ the product they can identify themselves with.