Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are making global headlines for the sales they are recording—especially in recent years, ranging from just a few dollars to millions. While many would generally associate these digital assets with industries that can actually go digital, such as gaming, collectibles, art and music, not many would think of NFTs in the world of lipsticks, mascaras and glittery eye shadows. However, beauty trendsetters and early adopters have made NFTs a part of the beauty world, and this has been met with support.
In 2021, Nars Cosmetics, a subsidiary of the iconic Japanese beauty giant, Shiseido, jumped on the NFT bandwagon by launching its series of NFTs created by three selected female artists. Designed and inspired by the brand's most popular product, Orgasm Blush, the cult cosmetic brand's drops included a free NFT, featuring a wave inside a shimmering open mouth, as well as NFTs that were going for US$ 50 and US$ 500. These came with a limited edition Nars product. The brand saw more than 2,000 NFTs collected, with those selling at US$ 500 selling out within 10 minutes of the drop.
According to Nars, the brand's foray into NFTs had nothing to do with revenue generation, but everything to do with creating a unique and creative experience around its most popular product. By being one of the first brands in the beauty industry to offer its customers access to a beauty NFT, Nars adopted a different marketing strategy—deploying the latest technological trend. This effort strengthens its market position as a cult cosmetic brand, and gives its loyal customer base unique access to its products.
On the heels of Nars' successful NFTs drop, several other beauty brands, including big names such as Clinique and YSL, have followed suit with their specific agendas. For example, Clinique's first NFT launch in 2021, featuring its brand's story, gave away the digital assets as competition prizes to its customer base. In so doing, the brand had embarked on a strategy to reward brand loyalty through using a unique commodity and the chance to receive free products for ten years.
Recently, Clinique also announced the launch of its makeup NFT campaign that aims to enhance the diversity of the Metaverse. Known as the ‘Metaverse More Like Us’, the NFT drops will feature a variety of skin tones, skin types, and facial structures that can be used on the non-fungible person (NFP). This work by Clinique highlights the brand's commitment to continue pushing boundaries and promoting inclusivity, even within a virtual space.
Asian beauty brands also aim to be a part of this virtual space, with Korea's LG Household and Health Care minting 3,000 NFTs on the popular NFT marketplace and platform, OpenSea. With an aim to promote its beauty brand, Belif, LG's NFT drops are designed to be a gateway for the brand to embark on its Metaverse journey.
While beauty NFTs are clearly not a tangible asset for their owners, beauty brands can capitalise on NFTs as a tool for generating brand loyalty, offering access to exclusive products, or even promoting their corporate social responsibility initiatives. As such, while beauty NFTs may not be sold to the tune of thousands, or millions, they can serve a unique purpose for this industry, especially as the world begins its foray into the Metaverse.
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