In case you missed it, last month, cosmetics brand, Tarte, hosted a group of 50 beauty and lifestyle influencers, along with their plus ones, on a three-day luxury brand excursion throughout Dubai. Influencers documented the trip across Instagram and TikTok through the platforms of social media’s most popular influencers, including Alix Earle, Meredith Duxbury, Ellie Zeiler, Xandra Pohl, and the Mian twins. The trip quickly became a trending topic, but Tarte faced backlash for hosting such an extravagant vacation during this period of significant economic turmoil. Here’s how the trip went down:

Day 1: 

Influencers and their plus ones were flown to Dubai from around the world on Emirates with business-class seating.

Image via @monetmcmichael on Instagram.

Guests settled into their private decked-out villas at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah. Their spacious rooms were stocked with cosmetics, clothes, accessories, and makeup vanities with TikTok-approved lighting installations. At the end of the first night, Tarte’s guests indulged in a lavish dinner party.

Day 2:

On the second day, our beloved influencers hit Dubai’s sand dunes on dune buggies and camels. As you would probably expect, this was the perfect photo op.

Image via @tartecosmetics on Instagram.

Day 3:

Tarte’s guests enjoyed their final moments on the luxury excursion. But, before heading back home, their day was filled with glam sessions, elegant meals, and breathtaking scenery (for content, of course).

Image via @lailamourad on Instagram.

So, you might be wondering, where does a company that sells concealer get the money to throw together a trip like this? After conspiracy theories swirled around TikTok suggesting that the United Arab Emirates covered the expenses of the flight to boost tourism, Tarte CEO Maureen Kelly set the record straight. After facing harsh criticism for the brand trip, Kelly explained that her company chooses to put its marketing budget towards building relationships with influencers. Like other companies prioritizing print media or commercials, Tarte strengthens influencer relations to generate earned media for the brand.  

Aside from the trip’s hefty finances, many criticized the vacation for being ‘out of touch’ or ‘tone-deaf’ in a post-pandemic world on the verge of a recession. Some even wondered if the trip positively impacted Tarte’s cosmetics sales.   

Let’s not forget to mention that while the influencers were posting their ‘get ready with me’ TikToks, they failed to use Tarte makeup – so silly of them! Despite the trip’s purpose being to promote the brand’s new foundation that came out on February 10th, many of these influencer’s followers never caught on that Tarte was trying to advertise their launch.   

Though Tarte’s Dubai excursion may not sit right with everyone, the trip has caused the brand to receive tons of publicity from all over the world. The controversy and overall extravagance only contributed to people speaking about the brand and their trips, which boosted Tarte’s brand recognition and sales.  

Controversy and all, Tarte is getting what they wanted from this trip. Let’s take a step back and think about this; who sends 50 influencers to pose on dune buggies in the Dubai desert to promote cosmetics without expecting the public to talk about it? Regardless of whether it was good publicity or bad publicity, Tarte was the talk of the town again after a long time of them being a distant memory of our cringy 2016 cakey makeup day.

Featured Image via Monet McMichael YouTube Channel.

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