Luxury and celebrity endorsement

In 2014, the beautiful Keira Knightley stars again as Coco Chanel in the new channel advert. The actress has been spokesmodel for Chanel since 2007. She comes back in a breathtaking mini film where she manages to seduce a good looking man and then vanish mysteriously. No doubt that Channel doesn’t regret the choice of Keira Knightley to incarnate the modern Coco Channel.

ad in the Amsterdam mall-photo from Drew Pärker

ad in the Amsterdam mall-photo from Drew Pärker

Associate its brand with a celebrity has become a common practice in luxury industry. For many years, luxury brands have understood the importance of associating their brand with celebrities. It became with the time a part of the marketing strategy. Nowadays, especially in luxury fashion industry, celebrities and public figures can be seen in every campaign. But celebrity endorsement doesn’t belong exclusively to luxury space anymore. Indeed, many other mass categories brands use it to promote their product. Like Sharon Stone in the last campaign of glasses brand, Alain Afflelou, for example. But let’s focus on the luxury brands. Why it became essential for them to use celebrity endorsement in their campaign? And Is it still effective today?

Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Roger Federer, etc.. you all know them. From film and television stars, to musicians, sports personalities, royals, politicians, and even socialites who have no defined careers apart from looking beautiful. They all share the common point of being famous around the world and exerting influence in different facets of the society. Manufacturers of perfumes and clothing are the one that use celebrity endorsement the most. One of the reasons is because there is a very aspirational purpose in their campaign. Chanel, Dior, Luis Vuitton, and many others don’t hesitate to spend millions of dollars to get the last fashionable starlet in their campaign assuming that the effectiveness exceeds the costs. What are the reasons of using public figure endorsement and not just simple model?

1) First of all it is a good way to create or revitalize the brand awareness

2) It helps to position and re-position existing brands

3) It brings credibility to the brand

4) Celebrity endorsement strategy is effective because it hides the “selling” purpose by making the customer thinks that the product is part of the celebrity’s lives. Consequently, the customer’s attitude is positively affected.

And as a consequence it has big impact on the company’s revenues. For example in 2005, after Chanel n°5 campaign with Nicole Kidman, the brand saw its sales increased of 17%.

But however, there are still some conditions to get a real effectiveness. Indeed, it is crucial that the personality of the celebrity match with the brand values. The celebrity has to carry those values in the advertising but also outside, in their daily life. For example I don’t think it would be a relevant choice for Yves Saint Laurent to get Cristiano Ronaldo as its spokesmodel. In others words, there must be a congruence between the celebrity and the brand universe in order to create an advertising effectiveness.

But celebrity endorsement is not always a 100% guaranted strategy. It is not always a Win-Win situation. The brand becomes dependant of the celebrity and its behavior and so it becomes risky when the celebrity make any transgression or even scandals. In this case, the celebrity’s image is damaged and so it is the image of the brand also. An example of this misdemeanor, would probably between Burberry, Chanel, H&M and Kate Mos, when some newspapers published pictures of this one snorting cocaine, the brands immediately broke their contract with her but still had an impact for the brands’ image.

Kate Moss by Pen 1 -From Matt Brown

Kate Moss by Pen 1 -From Matt Brown

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