Get in the (Video) Game

August 12, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis shuttered department stores and stand-alone beauty retailers, beauty companies had to meet consumers where they're at – and where they’re at, apparently, is playing video games.

During a global pandemic and amid global protests, more people are escaping into the virtual world of video games – and more beauty and personal-care brands are launching in-game offerings to connect with consumers while they play.

Tatcha, the Japanese-inspired skin-care brand that Unilever bought last year, launched its own island in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons video game. Tatcha partnered with activewear brand Alo Yoga and Nook Street Market – a group of players who create custom clothes and accessories for the game – to launch the digital island as a way to educate customers about the brand's newest product, The Rice Wash cleanser.

Animal Crossing players will be able to take a trip to Tatchaland Island, the brand's virtual pop-up, which was designed to make players feel like they’re in Kyoto.

And Tatcha isn’t alone: LVMH-owned Parfums Givenchy recently launched makeup looks in the game. Givenchy also partnered with Nook Street Market to develop the looks around its hero products, including Prisme Libre powders and Le Rouge lipsticks, all available in-game in a range of color combinations for different skin tones. Additionally, Givenchy offers players 4G heart- and lip-shaped tattoos in the form of the brand's logo.

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette Venus just launched the Skinclusive Summer Line by Venus on Animal Crossing. Venus partnered with digital designer, Nicole Cuddihy, to co-create new avatars within the game that serve as the largest offering of skin-inclusive designs ever available on Animal Crossing.

Gillette’s collection includes 19 different skin types in eight in-game skin tones, resulting in over 250 designs that include common skin realities, like freckles, acne, hair, cellulite, scars and stretch marks, as well as more unique and under-represented skin, such as vitiligo, tattoos and psoriasis.

And it’s not only in Animal Crossing. In June, Estée Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics launched makeup looks in The Sims 4, a popular life-simulation video game that has been around since 2000. Players could already change their clothes, hair and facial features, but now, thanks to MAC, they can also do their makeup.

MAC’s director of makeup artistry, Romero Jennings, designed 12 custom makeup looks for The Sims 4, the latest version of the game. Players can mix and match products from four different categories – eyeliner, eye shadow, lips and cheeks – to create their own personalized looks, er, actually personalized looks for their Sims characters.

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