LOS ANGELES — No longer is the red carpet the exclusive promotional vehicle of fashion houses. It is quickly becoming a platform for the beauty industry on which a new lipstick shade is launched or a hair stylist and his shampoo are publicized.
The beauty industry’s marketing strategies are as wide-ranging as the freebies. But the goal is the same: Connect with Hollywood A-listers in the hopes that the association — no matter how fleeting — will ultimately influence the masses and generate sales.
“For the fashion industry it’s a preview of spring clothes, and, likewise, we in the beauty industry use the Golden Globes as an opportunity to debut forthcoming launches,” said L’Oreal senior vice president and general manger Carol Hamilton.
L’Oreal was a pioneer of sorts when it first signed on in 1995 as the official broadcast sponsor of the Golden Globes. The media and public obsession with awards show fashion and beauty was only beginning. Two years later, the company introduced the “Ladies Lounge,” a station inside the ladies’ lounge at the Beverly Hilton, where guests could pop in during the event for a hair and make-up touch-up by a team of L’Oreal artists.
To reinforce its presence at this year’s Globes, a L’Oreal team was positioned backstage at the event and the brand participated in the Vanity Fair supersuite, located at the $884-a-day Garden Room in the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. A crew of manicurists, hair stylists and makeup artists painted and primped visitors with L’Oreal products. Supersuite visitors were privy to a sneak peak of Endless, the lipstick line launching this spring. Some of the Hollywood types received a tiny black chiffon sack filled with a pair of Colour Riche lipsticks packaged in cases dipped in 18-karat gold. The limited edition offering was created specifically for the Globes and delivered to the 38 female nominees, as well as members of the press. Only 100 are being extended to the public via a sweepstakes on the company’s Web site, www.lorealparis.com. To drive its official positioning further, L’Oreal sponsored the Dateline-People magazine Golden Globes special last Friday night on NBC.
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Estee Lauder offered its own Globes-created promo, called Golden Glow. A shiny gold accordion-style envelope held a gold-flecked pink lipstick and beige nail lacquer, as well as a gold crystal-covered mini compact of translucent pressed powder. Both products are already available to consumers under different names.
“We do get a ton of press participating [in awards shows],” said Estee Lauder spokeswoman Kim Cornell. “It generates a lot of excitement and it’s a good imaging tool. We offered spa services last year, too, and we’ve since seen Kristin Davis and others come back. It pays off from a business perspective and it’s an early trial for products.”
Cornell spearheads the company’s Hollywood Outreach team, which is responsible for putting Estee Lauder in the hands of professionals working in the entertainment industry. “These awards shows have turned into fashion shows for the world,” she said. “There’s more emphasis on what the actors look like than whether they win.”
At the 2001 Globes, Bobbi Brown took steps to be there by stocking correspondents from “Extra,” a Hollywood TV news program, with 500 compacts containing four pots of lip color. A paper band around the black case read: “If you need an extra touch up…Compliments of Bobbi Brown and Extra.” With a skin care line called Extra, the beauty brand is considering pairing up with the entertainment program for future award shows.
In the case of Kiehl’s, it was the magazine, In Style, that solicited involvement, according to Shannon Cooney, a spokeswoman for the skin care brand. Some 1,500 goody bags for Globes attendees were filled with five small-sized products, including coriander shower cleanser and lip balm.
“Kiehl’s is not exactly a glitzy product, but we have a celebrity following,” Cooney said. “So this is about reinforcing that relationship.”
In fact, Cooney echoed others that cultivating those relationships into loyalty shouldn’t just begin and end with the award shows.
“It’s year-round,” said Michael Baruch, ceo of Fred Segal Beauty. On Sunday, 20 of its wardrobe stylists and hair, makeup and nail artists worked both in the Santa Monica salon and making house calls to clients including Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. FSB’s top hair and makeup artists that day made $3,500.
“Exposure to celebrities drives traffic to the store and the salon,” said Baruch, who last week sent a team for the first time to the Sundance Film Festival, at which Julianne Moore, Christina Ricci, Mira Sorvino and many others were tended to.
But, just as importantly, he pointed out, is the “residual effect” from magazines calling to interview a stylist on trends, or hiring an artist for editorial. The byline contributes to the star-making machine of the artists themselves, as well as the Fred Segal Beauty brand. After all, a product line is slated to bow in 2003.
Hair stylist Charles Worthington arrived last week in Los Angeles from his native Great Britain, where he is more known for his hair care line sold at the British drugstore chain Boots, than his $1,500 haircuts. In late 2000 in the U.S. he launched mass labels Big Hair and Results at Walgreens and the prestige Dream Hair line at Sephora and Bloomingdales.
To announce his arrival in Globes-frenzied L.A, Worthington sent out 100 gift boxes designed by edgy commercial artist Mike Messex. Inside the 33 by 24-inch box, white foam was carved out to hold 17 sku’s of the Dream Hair line, a dish with an invitation for a dinner party, a salon smock with a request to stop in for a service at Worthington’s L’Ermitage suite, a candle and a skinny pillow embroidered in gold with “Dream Here.”
Worthington this year held court at the tony Les Deux Cafe in Hollywood for 50 guests — including Tatiana Von Furstenberg, Lisa Marie, Evi Quaid and fellow Brit and actress/pop singer Martyn Jacques.
He also inhabited the stately Governor’s Suite at L’Ermitage for six nights, which typically goes for $2,800 a night — not including round-the-clock room service when clients such as China Chow and Hugh Jackman dropped in for a cut and color. Two members of his team stayed nearby at the chic boutique hotel, Maison 140.
“Hair is a glamour industry,” said Worthington. “Dream Hair is a glamourous line. So I think it’s important to be associated with glamorous people. Besides, hair styling is such a personal thing. It’s about building confidence, building relationships. Because I don’t live in the United States all the time, it’s important I max out my time here.” That said, Worthington plans to not only return for the Academy Awards, but throughout the year. He already owns a home in New York, but he’s considering Los Angeles as the city for his first salon outside England. “The investment for me is worthwhile. Even if they receive the box and I never get to meet them, it made some impression on their minds.”