Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson Beauty Collaboration: Case Study


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Beauty Industry Creative Marketing Tactics In Uncharted Territory

Although many industries thrive off the work of influencers, the beauty industry dominates in their creative use of non-conventional marketing tactics. Makeup brands differentiate themselves by driving the consumers to their products unlike any other, and they do so by utilizing collaborations and brand partnerships. One of the most notable instances of beauty influencer partnerships launched in 2019: the Jeffree Star x Shane Dawson Conspiracy Collection.

It sold out in just less than 30 minutes, selling over 1 million eyeshadow palettes. The internet sensations dominated the industry and broke the internet, literally. To do this, they took an unchartered approached and created a YouTube documentary series that highlighted the year-long process to create the product. By bridging the gap between YouTube and beauty production, the brand and influencers were able to soar to new heights in their success. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses the creative and innovative marketing strategy that Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson took to revolutionize the beauty industry.

Jeffree Star Shane Dawson Collaboration Creative Marketing Tactics

Photo Credit: Jeffree Star Cosmetic

Why Influencer Collaborations Work

A huge aspect of influencer marketing in the beauty community extends past social media and into the business world. More frequently than not, we see makeup brands utilize a collaboration with an influencer. These “collabs” have many different dimensions, whether it is two brands working together or a brand working with a specific social media personality. In either case, the marketing tactic is used to “generate hype and boost sales.” According to Launchmetrics, “80% of professionals in fashion, luxury, and beauty activated campaigns with influencers –almost 76% obtaining better sales thanks to their collaborations with these digital creators.” 


Why is this? Why are brands willing to give up creative control to those outside their company? Well to start, these influencers bring fresh and new ideas to the table. Many do not have the initial finances to create their own brands but have tried a multitude of different products to know what succeeds and what fails. Additionally, influencers bring with them a loyal following.  With millions and millions of fans, it creates a beauty “cult.” As stated before, followers will buy what their idol makes. What makes them even more special is the limited-edition marketing.  Consumers thrive off the idea that they will have something many people will not, and they will need to act fast to buy the product. This tactic not only boosts sales but boosts the hype of the product. Whether it be eyeshadow palettes or full makeup lines, brands found a gold mine in utilizing the creativity and fan base of influencers to heighten the success of their products. 


Youtube Beauty Collaborations Brand Success

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The Two Celebrities in Charge

Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson led the charge in this beauty takeover, bringing their strong friendship to the business of makeup in their Conspiracy Collaboration. Jeffree Star is most known for being the decade’s most infamous beauty guru at an astonishing 17.5 million YouTube subscribers. After starting his makeup brand in 2014, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, he relied on social media platforms and his YouTube channel as his sole marketing strategy. It clearly worked, proving to other brands how unconventional marketing tactics are becoming the new norm. After growing the company to new heights, he was able to expand to include merchandise and brand partnerships with other makeup lines such as Morphe. As of 2018, he was ranked as the fifth highest paid YouTube influencer. Star is the perfect example of how to properly leverage social media to build and promote a brand. 


Shane Dawson is on the opposite end of the YouTube spectrum, focusing his content on sketch comedy and conspiracy theories. Starting his channel in 2008, he was one of the first to rise to fame and hop on the video platform before other influencers. Currently standing with 22 million subscribers and over 5 billion views, he created his own empire and his own branded content. He has reeled in a rather unique demographic in his audience, molding people of all ages and genders to follow his content. Similar to Jeffree Star, Dawson has mastered the art of collaboration and brand partnerships; working on docuseries with multiple celebrities such as Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau. Their friendship has been evident to the social community for years, making fans appreciate their organic collaboration.

Shane Dawson Conspiracy Pallet with Jeffree Star Cosmetics Youtube Collaboration

Photo Credit:The Verge

The Beautiful World Of Jeffree Star

Ultimately, the Conspiracy Collection’s success can be attributed to the heavy following of Shane Dawson’s YouTube series The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star. The seven-part documentary series released on October 1, 2019 was originally teased as a sneak peak into the drama filled beauty world, highlighting the fights and the controversy that occurred during the creation process. With the series being released over two months before the collection’s launch, viewers were excited for the launch as they were taken on the year-long journey of how the collaboration was created. The two went somewhere the beauty community had never gone; behind the scenes…unfiltered.


Each episode ran through a different aspect of the production and creative side of building a makeup brand including; the idea phase, working in the factory, choosing colors, selecting packaging, promo photoshoots, marketing tactics, and everything in-between. Along the way, they approached organic drama of their own whether it was backlash from the industry or arguments about product components. What stuck with loyal followers of the two influencers was being able to see the process. More and more, consumers are fascinated with the “How it’s made” aspect, wondering what the different creative phases look like to complete a final, sellable product. Unlike other YouTubers, they capitalized on this opportunity and revealed all the secrets behind makeup, ultimately creating exclusivity in their content. The marketing technique was flawless. Followers were hooked on the collection before it even released. When beauty fanatics follow a product in-depth for two months, they are ultimately going to make the purchase.


The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star

Photo Credit: Seventeen

In another light, the series bridged the gap between two opposite types of people. As stated before, Shane Dawson was not in anyway a beauty expert. In fact, The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star was his first debut in the makeup industry. Dawson’s previous videos primarily highlighted conspiracy theories and exposed the secrets of other celebrities. Yet, his subscribers were able to see Dawson learn about the makeup industry and therefore learned alongside him. As reporter Hailey Bialas states, “The influencer duo showed production, manufacturing and brainstorming plans for what turned out to be a collection that sold out worldwide within a day. Overall it brought both fan bases together.”  Personal struggles and relationships were exposed throughout the episodes, such as the death of Star’s dog, making fans more emotionally attached to the friendship and more appreciative of the product’s journey. In total, the series averaged an astonishing 18.7 million views per video and dominated other beauty gurus as the collaboration to beat. 

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The Product

The collection in itself brought together the ideas of the two stars in a perfect medley, from eyeshadow shade names down to the box design. Although it was made by Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Dawson was able to take over with his creative ideas. The line included two eyeshadow palettes, multiple lipstick shades, and merchandise all with the common theme of controversy and conspiracy. The products were able to stay on brand with Jeffree’s past collections while still utilizing Shane’s theme which brought together two different followings and boosted sales. 


After the year-long collaboration came to a close, the brand was able to sell a record breaking 1 million eyeshadow pallets in under 30 minutes, breaking the Shopify website temporarily. The success proved itself as Dawson was able to pocket an estimated $10 million in revenue. YouTube was flooded with hundreds of reviews, from the most notable to least notable gurus, giving the company as much free advertising as they could dream of.


Although some controversy surrounded the two in charge, there was no denying the product’s high performance. Unlike other influencer partnerships, this specific one thrived as it became a permanent member of the collection. When consumers first assumed the products were limited addition, it sparked that huge initial drive in sales. However, continuous restocks dates kept the hype steady for months after the initial launch.

Conspiracy Pallet Sales Success Using Youtube Marketing

Photo Credit:The Verge

What Can We Make Of This?

Now more than ever, typical advertising is slowing down. Especially in the beauty community, consumers are more invested in watching experts use the product, and gaining expert experience on the best place to spend their money. These experts being the beauty gurus that flood our Instagram and YouTube feeds. The perfect harmony happens when brands realize the potential in partnerships and collaborations, bridging two followings together. And as sales in all industries become increasingly competitive, Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star can be used as an example of finding differing marketing tactics to challenge the norm.


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