June 21, 2012, 4:39 PM

A better retail look via online video

Nyx Cosmetics gains more than 23 million views of makeup-related videos.

Lead Photo

Nyx Cosmetics this spring ran a contest that, as of today, has drawn more than 23 million views of videos that highlight how consumers can use Nyx makeup. That number far surpasses the manufacturer and e-retailer’s target of 3 million, says Tonie Shin, Nyx Cosmetics’ vice president of marketing.

The contest was to select the top national beauty video blogger, or “beauty vlogger,” on YouTube, the video sharing site owned by Google Inc. that many video bloggers use to distribute their videos to the world. Contest participants had to create videos showing off a particular makeup look that Nyx assigned. The initial round challenged contestants to create a retro ‘80s look and upload the video of them creating it to their own YouTube channels. That generated 300 contestants and videos, Shin says, which Nyx narrowed to 30. Then Nyx asked viewers to vote for their favorites, which narrowed the field of contestants to 20. Nyx also posted the videos on its own YouTube feed and on NyxCosmetics.com, where it sells cosmetics directly to consumers.

Those 20 contestants were then challenged to create another look, this time inspired by the recently released vampire film “Dark Shadows,” and add those videos to their YouTube channels. Nyx and other contest sponsors at this stage began sending contestants product samples they could use to create their looks. Nyx itself had a promotional product tie-in with “Dark Shadows” this spring, selling a “Crimson Amulet” makeup palette inspired by the film. Contestants also began posting videos of themselves unboxing their swag, and Shin says within a day or two some of these videos generated upward of 7,000 views.

“The quality of their work by this round and their attention to production, staging and props really went up,” Shin says, adding that views really took off as the videos spread through the social web and fans voted for their favorites.

Nyx enjoyed an increase in online sales for some of the products in those videos—the retailer declines to give specifics—but Shin stresses that the goal of Nyx’s consumer-generated video efforts is to engender long-term loyalty. “The videos are helping establish Nyx in the [makeup artist] community even more,” Shin says. Nyx, through their video bloggers’ reach, is also likely to see a longer-term effect from the contest. One contestant, for example, started the contest with about 3,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. Thanks to the contest, she now has more than 30,000 subscribers.

As the weeks went by, public vote narrowed the field to 12 contestants, then six, whom Nyx flew to Los Angeles this week for a final challenge and to meet professional makeup artists who may help further jumpstart contestants’ careers in the field. A panel of professional makeup artists will select the winner this weekend at an awards ceremony emceed by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. In addition to being named “beauty vlogger of the year” the winner also will receive $25,000.

To learn more about consumer-generated online video, read the July issue of Internet Retailer magazine.

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