Angel Merino

Smashbox Cosmetics is giving its Pride events a digital spin.

The brand, which had to shutter in-person events due to the coronavirus pandemic, has brought its Pride festivities to Instagram. Most notably among them, it is partnering with makeup artist and influencer Angel Merino on a virtual drag star show. Participants will submit videos of their best drag makeup looks using a hashtag, four of which will be chosen as finalists. The four will then partake in a lip-sync battle, and the final winner will be given a year’s supply of free makeup and a slot in an upcoming Smashbox Cosmetics campaign.

Other brand efforts include a partnership with YouCam, featuring professionally developed looks. The brand is closing out Pride Month with a drag performance on Instagram. “We’re ramping it up. I don’t believe we’ve done this degree of digital activations like this. We’ve always recognized the month and always been supported, but this year we’re trying to do much more,” said Glenn Evans, senior vice president and global general manager at Smashbox Cosmetics.

Merino already has experience in the digital event arena. His cosmetics company, Artist Couture, experienced a 376 percent increase in revenue after a three-day digital music festival he hosted as reported by WWD. In January, Smashbox also partnered with Snap Camera on a filter for various apps and platforms. “We and a lot of other brands are really learning rapidly the power of these kind of digital events,” Evans said. “They enable us to reach a broader audience with content and concepts that we would not have imagined.”

Many corporations have forgone in-person activations because of the pandemic, and several are compounding Pride celebrations with social efforts for the Black Lives Matter movement. As for the timing of Smashbox’s Pride efforts, Evans said, “We want to be an inclusive and welcoming brand. That spans all areas, so we will continue to celebrate a variety of communities that we have direct and longstanding and authentic links with. We’re celebrating and embracing and we’re sharing our platform with others.”

Last week, Smashbox also implemented measures to encourage voices of color, such as its newly activated Multi Ethnicity Advisory Board, an employee counsel to give a platform to Black voices throughout the brand.

For more from WWD.com, see:

How Drag Queens Broke Through the Beauty Barrier

YouCam Puts On-Demand Beauty Expertise One Tap Away

Saks Focuses Digital Initiatives on Mental Health for May

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