Beauty and Sport Advertisement: First Encounters

- 4 minute read
ESPN streaming
Digital Content Specialist​

Gemma Elgar is a Digital Content Specialist at Foundation where she creates and executes content strategies, including site copy, blog content, and more. She also conducts social media campaigns for our clients, and has spoken on a panel about creating sensitive campaigns for niche audiences.

On February 11th 2024, fans saw a first in Super bowl history. Until now, health and beauty ads have very rarely made appearances in the Super bowl half-time show. This year, there was not just one, but four that made the cut. E.L.F Cosmetics, NYX Professional Makeup, Dove, and CeraVe.

Since marketing began, where you place your advert has been just as important as the advert itself, ensuring it gets exposed to the right audience. So, why is it that traditionally female-centric health and beauty ads are now being shown in traditionally male-dominated spaces?

With streaming more common and popular than ever, general television advertisements are not as large a part of brand marketing campaigns as they once were; NYX’s Super bowl ad was actually the brand’s first TV advert in the company’s 25 years of existence.

This shift in the way that audiences consume television has led to there being three other main ways of advertising through TV: product placement, sponsorships, and advertisements for trapped audiences – such as the Super bowl half-time show.

The Taylor Swift Effect

In 2023, the Super bowl had a record number of viewers at 115.1 million. This year, it was even higher again – in 2024, 123.4 million people tuned in to watch the event.

The main theory behind the scale of this immediate growth is being coined the “Taylor Swift effect”. While female viewership of the NFL has been on the rise since 2017, Morning Consult reports that there’s been a rapid 11% increase in this figure between July and December 2023 alone, during which it was announced that Swift was now dating NFL player Travis Kelce.

In fact, a recent poll from LendingTree found that 13% of Americans were more interested in football because of Taylor Swift. Similarly, a survey from Similarweb found that 20% of respondents cited Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship as a reason for tuning in to the Super bowl this year.

The shift in demographics has caused brands to follow suit. Yasmin Dastmalchi, general manager of NYX Professional Makeup, stated in an interview with The Business of Fashion, “We want to be where our community is. At the end of the day, there has been a shift in viewership [in] women watching sports, and [Taylor Swift] has played a key role in that”.

Formula 1 Academy

New channels and fields are becoming options for health and beauty advertising with this type of branching out. More women are now interested in the NFL, meaning traditionally feminine topics are becoming less taboo within the field, as demonstrated by this year’s Super bowl half-time ads.

On a similar vein, Charlotte Tilbury has announced its sponsorship of Formula 1 Academy, and is the first female-founded brand, and the first ever beauty brand, to do so. The partnership will highlight 15 young female drivers in the sport through 2024, and Lola Lovinfosse, 18, from France, will be driving the Charlotte Tilbury car itself.

Founded by Susie Wolff, F1 Academy has similar goals to Charlotte Tilbury as a brand, focused on empowering and encouraging young women to chase their dreams. The collaboration hopes to open up the sport even more to women globally.

Like the NFL, Formula 1 has a growing female audience. In fact, as of 2022, 40% of Formula 1 fans were female. Despite this, there have only ever been five female F1 drivers in history.

Formula 1 has gained even more traction in recent years, with a potential catalyst for this being the dramatisation of the sport in shows like Drive to Survive, much like how Taylor Swift’s involvement with Travis Kelce may have brought a larger viewership to the NFL. However, neither of these can be directly drawn as a cause-and-effect.

What Does This Mean for Health and Beauty Advertising?

Advertising in spaces like sports streaming is an ideal situation for any brand, exposing their advertisements to a pre-engaged audience who are guaranteed to see their campaign.

The NFL has been actively working to include more women in its fan base, so the increase of skincare ads in the halftime show is a win-win for the NFL and for the brands being advertised.

The aftermath of the show has been huge, with several of the brands’ adverts remaining in the limelight. CeraVe has even won an award for its Super bowl ad featuring Michael Cera, claiming him to be the founder of the company.

Health and beauty sponsorships have been rife in female athletics for a long time, with the likes of Gold Medal-winning U.S. hurdler Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone being a Neutrogena ambassador, and Glossier having a WNBA partnership.

Televised women’s sports have been increasingly popular, with a 131% viewership increase year-on-year. It also accounted for 15% of total sports viewed in 2022, compared to 10% in 2021. The popularity increase in women’s sports brings more female viewers into the world of sport, and with that is a whole new audience base for typically female-oriented brands.

Build Your Brand’s Strategy with Foundation

Whether it’s making sure your ads don’t clash with important events or simply being on top of the future trajectory of beauty advertising, Foundation can help you be reactive, and keep your advertising relevant.

At Foundation, our team of specialist beauty marketers are in the know on the latest trends and data, meaning we can help you construct a digital marketing strategy that keeps your brand relevant. We’ll start with your brand’s vision and goals, and build a plan from there.

Fill out our contact form to start working with us today.

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