There’s no shortage of skincare content on TikTok, where #skintok has almost nine billion views. In such a saturated market, skincare brands trying to connect with Gen Z have their work cut out for them.
Neutrogena and Movers+Shakers faced this challenge with Hydro House, a TikTok campaign that took the form of a reality show starring creators and former Bachelor alums. Filmed like a reality dating show, Hydro House places its stars in a competition for a cleanser’s affection.
Creator marketing on TikTok is nothing new, but with two Hydro House teasers netting over 7 million views since they went live early this month, Neutrogena has been successful at cutting through.
“We looked at how consumers and our competitors are talking about skincare . . . it’s very educational and ingredient-focused,” said Megan Herren, associate director of strategy at Movers+Shakers. “For us to go in with this very random but hilarious comedic sketch, that’s going to make consumers pause.”
Herren added that one of the biggest issues for consumers in the skincare market, particularly while shopping for cleansers, is being overwhelmed by choice – leading Movers+Shakers to identify a parallel between consumers searching for the right cleanser and reality dating show contestants searching for the right partner. It also drew inspiration from Boman Martinez-Reid, a creator with over 2 million TikTok followers known for his reality show parodies.
TikTok has been a very successful platform for Neutrogena’s competitors, who have gone viral promoting cleansers, Herren said. While it’s not known for comedy-focused marketing, Neutrogena’s deviation into irreverent humor has gotten attention.
“Comedy just works on TikTok,” Herren said. “Neutrogena isn’t like Duolingo; they’re not going to be out here cracking jokes left and right. However, they were willing to push it a little farther than their typical brand voice, and it’s paid off in big ways.”
Getting Neutrogena to take a chance on a new approach wasn’t too hard in light of the three-year relationship it has with Movers+Shakers, which is known for its TikTok centric campaigns, Herren said. Neutrogena has experimented with the odd funny TikTok post sprinkled throughout its educational skincare content, which built up its comfort enough to embrace the Hydro House pitch.
“We showed influencer video engagement rates and view rates, did social listening to the positive sentiment that comes flooding in the comments when those types of videos go viral,” Herren said, “That got them a bit more comfortable with it to see this is new for a brand to do this on TikTok, but it’s not new to the platform.”
“It might feel jarring to the brand, but little do they know that the consumer is actually waiting for brands to come out with this type of content.”
This story originally appeared on Campaign US.