Celebrity endorsers won’t go the way of dinosaurs in this recession-driven shakeout, but consumers are likely to be seeing more famous faces — with a heightened online presence — that convey a degree of seriousness, either through the projects they pursue, the charities they support or the lifestyles they lead.
“You’ve got celebrity names today that consumers love who aren’t over-the-top, flamboyant celebs,” said Gerry Philpott, chief executive officer of E-Poll Market Research, a celebrity research firm based in Los Angeles.
The public’s appetite for party girls such as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie has waned, and interest in more down-to-earth types has increased. Philpott cited research showing heightened consumer interest in young mothers such as Jennifer Garner, and actresses who give the appearance of leading more low-key lifestyles, including Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Jodie Foster.
“They’re more grounded; they set the tone,” he said. “It’s less decadence, more responsibility.”
That theme echoes President Obama’s inauguration speech and his subsequent statements about excesses on Wall Street.
“People don’t want fluff, they want real,” said Nathalie Moar, director of celebrity and branding at Marilyn Agency, which has offices in New York and Paris and places models and celebrities with fashion brands. “It’s because of the shift in the economy. It’s why Obama was elected. Everything is shifting in the way we communicate to audiences.”
Whatever the economic climate, from luxury names to mass brands, “it’s all about influence. Celebs will always drive fashion and interest in products or style,” Philpott said. “That’s always going to be the case. It’s just a matter of who. That’s what changes over time.”
The desire of consumers to identify with the down-to-earth types doesn’t mean some brands are shying away from edgy campaigns. In other words, moms can be hot.
Several spring-summer 2009 campaigns featuring celebrities speak to these points. Mothers such as Katie Holmes, Madonna and Victoria Beckham have been tapped for provocative ads for Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and Emporio Armani, respectively. Models are out in force, too: Claudia Schiffer appears for Yves Saint Laurent and Dolce & Gabbana. And Kate Moss appears in the latest advertisements from Stella McCartney, Versace, Just Cavalli and accessories firm Longchamp.
“The belief that celebrities will no longer have any relevance in a down economy is silly and historically inaccurate,” said Robert Thompson, professor of media and pop culture at Syracuse University. “You don’t go from making $60,000 a year to $0 a year and not like Angelina Jolie anymore. Your time to engage in that interest may change, but the interest itself does not.”
“No one is ever uninterested in glamour — or glamorous people,” Thompson added.
In the beauty sector, the glamour and down-to-earth quotient is reflected in celebrities such as Diane Keaton (L’Oréal), Eva Longoria Parker (L’Oréal), Tim McGraw (Coty) and Drew Barrymore (Procter & Gamble/Cover Girl), all of whom have been matched with brands for their latest ad campaigns. And in September, Procter & Gamble announced the new face of Cover Girl and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation: Ellen DeGeneres. Ads began rolling out last month.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews