YouTube is not in need of more beauty tip videos, that is for sure. One of the surprise hit genres of user-gen media in recent years has been the cosmetic how-to. Apparently there are a lot of questions out there about how to put that damned eyeliner on straight, and the beauty mavens of YouTube are here to help. But now one of the main suppliers of cosmetics, Estee Lauder, is bringing their own video library direct to consumers on the new brand channel.
This is a full on custom publishing project. The scores of professionally produced video clips are categorized as how-tos, interviews (with makeup director Tom Pecheux), behind-the-scenes looks, skin demos, etc.
But the thrust is really instructional. In fact the site has a novel "mirror" function that lets you integrate your webcam image onto the tutorial to better follow along. There is a mirror icon in taskbar that is supposed to call up a webcam window. The videos also have pop-up links to content extras like product info and user reviews. Tapping on them pauses the video and folds out a side screen of additional content. Estee Lauder calls this a self-contained platform where a range of product info and user-gen material has been pulled together so the user can stay longer within the site.
While stylish and lush with multimedia finesses we found the site groaned under the weight of its own technology. Maybe it just doesn't like our version of Chrome, but we found the animated interface ratchety and sluggish.Of course YouTube is in the end a social network where user comments are unpredictable and varied. While little more than a thousand people have subscribed to the channel at our last check, many fans were there to cheer it on. At the same time, many users complained that the clips were too quick or short to be helpful or just to use it as a forum for complaints about discontinued products they once loved. And of course there are countless other amateur beauty video makers letting Estee Lauder know that they too make videos, that they demo Estee Lauder products. And hey, if you happen to have some free product to send them in exchange for a little more YouTube love from the amateur wing, then feel free. Hint, hint, wink, wink.