Sponsored

When TikTok decides your product is a dupe

As discovering dupes becomes a point of pride, here’s how marketers are chiming in
May 13, 2024

Creators are comparing Bliss Beauty to its more expensive competitor Tatcha.

Share

It takes a lot for a mailed product to make it to an influencer’s counter top—let alone for them to post about it organically. Apply this general competition to the saturated skincare space, where every brand is applying for a time slot in a morning routine, and you have a near impossible feat. 

When users started dubbing a $24 Bliss Beauty product as a “dupe” to Tatcha’s $72 water cream, vice president of brand marketing Sara Mitzner said she had a two-pronged task. One was to tell consumers that Bliss’ product came out first, and the next was to find a lighthearted way to join the conversation. The brand’s mailer featured its product alongside an empty section in the recognizable shape of the Tatcha cream with the copy “Our pricey competitor.” 

“Bliss, you are so shady for this, and I love it, “said beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira, who presents products and tips to over 15 million followers on TikTok, in an unpaid post. Other influencers like Allissa Warneke chimed in, adding “They brought the tea to the table and they’re not playing around. They said ‘we were here first and we do it cheaper.” 

AS Beauty, which owns brands including Bliss, Julep and Laura Geller, acknowledges that garnering both influencer and consumer attention in a crowded industry calls for more than just a quality or aesthetically-pleasing product. Through social listening and a diverse blend of creator partnerships that reflect a broad consumer base, the beauty company is working to uphold a list of brands that stand out from the crowd.

“It was the first time that we let social media dictate the idea,” said Mitzner. “Usually we send out a mailer and hope it ends up on social media, but this was inspired by social itself. We used what was already happening and amplified it.”

Diversifying sources of trust 

While Mitzner says the quality of her product aligns with luxury brands, she works to mesh both authority and lightheartedness into her messaging to grab a range of consumers from across the industry. She acknowledged  that trust can come from a variety of sources, from influencers like Nogueira to dermatologists and estheticians. 

“Some are skincare enthusiasts and others are getting groceries at Walmart and decide to grab moisturizer,” she said. “It’s for the person with an 11-step nighttime routine, but it’s also for the busy mom who only has time or is only interested in putting on a little moisturizer.”

Listening and letting go 

Nearly half of Gen Z adults buy “dupes,” or a cheaper version of a hot product, and the treasure hunt for the perfect match has long dominated conversations on social media. In a similar effort to join the conversion by acknowledging the competition, Lululemon surprised  consumers last year with its “dupe swap,” where it gave away free leggings in exchange for an old pair of any brand. 

Bliss Beauty factors sales-driven influencers into its strategy, but Mitzner also prioritizes brand awareness moments that aren't confined to a conversion goal. While Nogueira celebrates the cream for being light on her skin, she is not overly celebratory of the product and is most focused on the unboxing. Instead of engineering a creative vision and hoping creators could execute it, Miztner bet on their organic reactions.

“That was the exact reaction we were looking for with the mailer,” said Mitzner. “It was such a great reference for when things work out perfectly. I couldn’t have even briefed it in that well.” 

Share

When TikTok decides your product is a dupe

It takes a lot for a mailed product to make it to an influencer’s counter top—let alone for them to post about it organically. Apply this general competition to the saturated skincare space, where every brand is applying for a time slot in a morning routine, and you have a near impossible feat. 

When users started dubbing a $24 Bliss Beauty product as a “dupe” to Tatcha’s $72 water cream, vice president of brand marketing Sara Mitzner said she had a two-pronged task. One was to tell consumers that Bliss’ product came out first, and the next was to find a lighthearted way to join the conversation. The brand’s mailer featured its product alongside an empty section in the recognizable shape of the Tatcha cream with the copy “Our pricey competitor.” 

“Bliss, you are so shady for this, and I love it, “said beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira, who presents products and tips to over 15 million followers on TikTok, in an unpaid post. Other influencers like Allissa Warneke chimed in, adding “They brought the tea to the table and they’re not playing around. They said ‘we were here first and we do it cheaper.” 

AS Beauty, which owns brands including Bliss, Julep and Laura Geller, acknowledges that garnering both influencer and consumer attention in a crowded industry calls for more than just a quality or aesthetically-pleasing product. Through social listening and a diverse blend of creator partnerships that reflect a broad consumer base, the beauty company is working to uphold a list of brands that stand out from the crowd.

“It was the first time that we let social media dictate the idea,” said Mitzner. “Usually we send out a mailer and hope it ends up on social media, but this was inspired by social itself. We used what was already happening and amplified it.”

Diversifying sources of trust 

While Mitzner says the quality of her product aligns with luxury brands, she works to mesh both authority and lightheartedness into her messaging to grab a range of consumers from across the industry. She acknowledged  that trust can come from a variety of sources, from influencers like Nogueira to dermatologists and estheticians. 

“Some are skincare enthusiasts and others are getting groceries at Walmart and decide to grab moisturizer,” she said. “It’s for the person with an 11-step nighttime routine, but it’s also for the busy mom who only has time or is only interested in putting on a little moisturizer.”

Listening and letting go 

Nearly half of Gen Z adults buy “dupes,” or a cheaper version of a hot product, and the treasure hunt for the perfect match has long dominated conversations on social media. In a similar effort to join the conversion by acknowledging the competition, Lululemon surprised  consumers last year with its “dupe swap,” where it gave away free leggings in exchange for an old pair of any brand. 

Bliss Beauty factors sales-driven influencers into its strategy, but Mitzner also prioritizes brand awareness moments that aren't confined to a conversion goal. While Nogueira celebrates the cream for being light on her skin, she is not overly celebratory of the product and is most focused on the unboxing. Instead of engineering a creative vision and hoping creators could execute it, Miztner bet on their organic reactions.

“That was the exact reaction we were looking for with the mailer,” said Mitzner. “It was such a great reference for when things work out perfectly. I couldn’t have even briefed it in that well.”