- E.l.f. Cosmetics debuted a video series on TikTok inspired by the holidays and trends that have taken over the platform over the past year, per a press release.
- Billed as a "movie" native to the app, "Big Mood, Big e.l.f.ing City" comes in three, three-minute installments, each starring influencer Fia James as a character named Ash. After a surprise visit to her best friend doesn't go as planned, Ash explores New York City and eventually links up with other creators, including Kalen Allen and Vanessa Pena, as well as a group of anthropomorphic E.l.f. products: Big Mood, Petty Primer, Camo Cutie and a new offering called Power Grip Primer voiced by creator Adam Ray.
- Developed with agency Movers+Shakers, the content is loaded with references to TikTok memes from 2021, with nods to the Couch Guy controversy and a viral salmon bowl recipe. The effort represents an attempt to string together long-form narrative content on an app best known for short-form, disconnected videos.
E.l.f., a frequent early mover on TikTok marketing trends, is taking something of a gamble in centering its holiday messaging on a movie tailored to the app. Users spend most of their time on the platform scrolling through the algorithmically-curated For You Page feed, where they're exposed to quick-hit content that rarely shares a connective tissue. The cosmetics marketer is likely hoping that its reference-heavy, creator-led execution will encourage people to visit its page and view the entire "Big Mood, Big e.l.f.ing City" series.
The campaign speaks to how brands are experimenting with TikTok tactics beyond paid advertisements and well-established formats like branded hashtag challenges, an area where E.l.f. has previously seen viral success. TikTok began offering the ability to shoot three-minute videos on a wider basis earlier this year, opening more long-form opportunities for advertisers.
Beyond the creator component, TikTok memes play a major role in the movie's narrative, with characters frequently referencing videos and audio tracks that blew up over the past 12 months while applying popular effects like green-screen video. Some of these callbacks are inherently dated on a service where viral trends wither quickly, but viewers may still appreciate the Easter Egg aspect of the concept.
Pulling fans into the mix could also help with engagement. E.l.f. asked regular TikTok users to audition for parts in "Big Mood, Big e.l.f.ing City" by duetting with the influencers featured. Twelve winners make cameo appearances in the final product. E.l.f. additionally partnered with actress Sarah Hyland, who is sharing her favorite holiday movie traditions on TikTok and reacting to the branded film while trying on the marketer's products.
The push is complemented by a holiday album called "e.l.f. the Hauls" that remixes seasonal staples like "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bells" and factors into the soundtrack. E.l.f. first dropped the album last year on Triller, a TikTok rival. It marked the first time a beauty brand launched a campaign on the video-sharing app.