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.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia