Have you ever looked at your Chipotle burrito bowl and thought, “Wow, I wish I could turn this sour cream and salsa color scheme into a smoky eye look”? Yeah, me neither.
Regardless, e.l.f. Cosmetics recently announced its brand collaboration with Chipotle, releasing an eyeshadow palette modeled after the toppings assembly line at Chipotle restaurants. The collab begs the question: Who asked for this? And why?
When Lizzo sang, “No, I’m not a snack at all/ Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal,” in her hit song “Juice,” I’m pretty sure this isn’t what she meant.
— elfcosmetics (@elfcosmetics) March 4, 2021
“There is nothing tastier or prettier than the combination of burritos and makeup,” Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f. Cosmetics’ chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
I can’t say I agree with that. One of makeup’s biggest pros is its ability to accentuate people’s features and make them feel beautiful and confident. I don’t see myself feeling confident while sporting my Pinto Beans eyeshadow that I packed on with my Extra Guac Face Sponge. I wish that was an exaggeration but unfortunately, those are real names.
“There is nothing tastier or prettier than the combination of burritos and makeup!” says the CMO of Elf Beauty, for some reason.
This is a real makeup collab between Elf and Chipotle. Eyeshadow, lip gloss, a face sponge and a makeup bag. It drops next week. pic.twitter.com/klmyFaVV90
— Kim Bhasin (@KimBhasin) March 4, 2021
e.l.f. Cosmetics, which stands for “eyes lips face,” is also set to release a makeup bag for $18 that resembles Chipotle’s brown paper bags, which are free when you order food. The makeup bag is oh so cleverly named the Eyes Chips Face Makeup Bag.
In turn, Chipotle plans to create a special vegan bowl of the same name curated by drag queens Trixie Mattel and Kim Chi. So, if you can’t afford the makeup bag, you could always just get a burrito bowl for half the price, then use the bag to hold your lip gloss.
We’re taught that capitalism breeds innovation. I just think capitalism breeds these weird hybrid products that seem to serve no other purpose than helping big corporations make even more money.
The best brand partnerships are the ones you don’t even need to think twice about. Doritos partnering with Taco Bell is great because, yeah, that’s obvious. When that partnership was announced, I thought to myself, “Right, that makes perfect sense.”
Brand partnerships get weird when they mix things that have no business relating to each other. There are plenty of great examples of this.
One popular example is Forever 21 x Cheetos, complete with bedazzled “Flamin’ hot” crop tops, Chester Cheetah bodysuits and Cheeto-dust orange mini dresses. This collaboration came with a makeup line as well. Sure, the line is cute, but how did they even come up with this? And again, why?
— Forever 21 (@Forever21) June 6, 2019
A more bizarre and hilarious example of a collab flop was when hip, millennial eyewear brand Warby Parker created an April Fools’ partnership with Arby’s in 2018. The collab, called WArby’s, was a PR failure, considering it made no sense and targeted two completely different customer groups. Just speaking from personal experience, I know 10 people who wear Warby Parker, but I’ve never met anyone that eats at Arby’s.
— Arby’s (@Arbys) March 28, 2018
Say what you will about the Chipotle x e.l.f. collab, at least they know their customers. I think these two brands caught onto the stereotypical starter pack of their shared clientele: basic white girls. As a basic white girl myself, I do really like Chipotle and I own a handful of e.l.f. products. I’ll venture a guess this trope sparked this collaboration idea.
At the end of the day, whether a brand collab is good or bad, it gives the company what they want: publicity. Nobody asked for a burrito bowl eyeshadow palette, and nobody asked for a Chipotle meal specially curated by celebrities. But, whether people like it or not, it’s all over the internet. And even if people buy the products ironically because of how strange the partnership is, they’re still buying it.
The Chipotle x e.l.f. Cosmetics makeup line drops March 9 for e.l.f. ’s Beauty Squad Loyalty Program members, and it’s available March 10 for the general public. It will only be available online.
Here’s to hoping it isn’t scented.