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L'Oreal Gathers the YouTube Make-up Celebs

If you can't beat 'em, aggregate 'em. Clearly consumer brands are learning that the real energy at YouTube is in amateur and pro-am materials that gain a following. In its latest YouTube effort, L'Oreal Paris is pulling together videos from Seventeen magazine as well as YouTube hits Kandee Johnson and Laura Luke into a dedicated Destination Beauty channel.

Who knew that make-up tutorials were such a big deal on YouTube? I know, my gender is showing. But celebrity make-up artist Johnson boasts 52 million video views of her tips for getting perfect eyebrows to attaining the much-coveted "Betty Boop look." Laura Luke's Panaceo81 channel has over 85 million video views. There are others in the mix as well, including the super-fast-talking "Pursebuzz" and video from Ford Models.

Much the same way Kia enlisted YouTube celebrity judges for its user-gen video contest "Who's Next," L'Oreal is trying to ride the wave of existing YouTube popularity rather than build by itself. The Destination Beauty channel leverages the three sources of video and so is not necessarily banging the viewer over t head with (or eyelashes) with sponsor product. The touch is lighter. In addition, the brand can be seen as offering a service by helping to triage and organize the make-up tutorial. There is a fashionably black motif in which the thumbnails revolve on a reflective base. The content is organized neatly into Eye Looks, Beauty Basics, Makeup Trends, Special Event Looks and All About Hair. In other words the brand plan here is to scrape the most polished material already circulating in the makeup video world, glam it up with a cool interface, and give the YouTube viewer a respite from the mosh pit of usual search results. To get users there, L'Oreal is also making a buy of Google display ads.

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Does it add up? On the content side it feels a bit skimpy at first. Given the breadth and depth of videos available in the genre at YouTube (the Avatar and Lady Gaga makeover videos are particulaly noteworthy), the thumbnail carousel doesn't do justice to the number of video the user will find farther down the scroll. And oddly the site itself never really introduces itself effectively to tell the user where they are and what to expect. A carousel of thumbnails on a limp black reflective pool seems to be enough. Perhaps the touch is too light and understated. It could use just a hint more highlight.

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