By Jennifer Blundell, Digital Strategist at The Marketing Arm
Two things The Marketing Arm’s digital team has been talking about non-stop lately are the rise of Generation Z and marketing with non-celebrity influencers. So, as a digital strategist, I had all the feels when I saw CoverGirl’s announcement on crowning James Charles the brand’s newest cover boy…that’s right, CoverBoy.
Ok, let’s back up and first talk Generation Z.
Gen Zer’s are roughly 5-20 years old – basically anyone born from 1996 on. But, why should we care about Gen Z? Because they are here and they have money. In 2017, the Gen Z population size will be 81.8 million and they’ll have a purchasing power of $44 billion.
Something to note about Gen Z is that they are extremely diverse. In fact, Gen Z is the most multicultural generation of kids the US has ever seen. With that outward diversity and their ability to gain exposure to anything online, comes an accepting and inclusive mindset. Whether it’s through the lens of sexuality or gender fluidity, Gen Z embraces difference and seeks out people and brands with different cultural perspectives and echo inclusiveness.
In my opinion, CoverGirl is hitting the Gen Z mark by tapping 17-year-old Charles, a high school senior, to join the ranks of Zendaya, Katy Perry, Pink, and other top celebrity CoverGirls. This move is signaling that even the industry’s biggest cosmetics player is taking note of this growing consumer group and has a pulse on what they see as beautiful and inspirational. In a statement, CoverGirl said that it aims to bring on “boundary-breaking” brand representatives.
Secondly, CoverGirl did not only sign its first male ambassador, he also happens to be a social media influencer.
Charles, a New Yorker, is a self-proclaimed makeup artist with more than half a million Instagram followers and more than 80,000 YouTube subscribers. He lists makeup as one of his biggest passions, creating looks from glam to avant-garde.
Charles recently gained attention when he posted about retaking his senior photos because he didn’t like how the highlighter on his cheekbones looked.
A brand turning to influencers to engage audiences is nothing new. However, we will start seeing more brands integrate influencers into their creative process, and in earlier stages, to better leverage these influencer’s mindsets and passions.
By signing a male beauty ambassador, CoverGirl is integrating him, and his loyal followers, into their brand story. As the partnership develops, it will be interesting to see if Charles’ passion for makeup is showcased in product development; moving him from influencer to creator.
Jennifer Blundell is a digital strategist who has a pulse on all things Gen Z, but don’t ask her for makeup tips.