NEW YORK — A month after recruiting Tom Ford, Estee Lauder global brand president John Demsey has snatched another bold-faced name — Gwyneth Paltrow.
The Oscar-winning star will appear as a spokeswoman for the Estee Lauder brand, first in a new print and TV campaign for the 10th anniversary of the Pleasures fragrance brand, then Lauder makeup and, finally, as the face of a new fragrance product next spring, a new version of White Linen.
Since taking the helm of the Lauder brand in January, Demsey has been on a mission to freshen the image of the once-dominant brand, and Paltrow seems well cast for the effort. “Gwyneth has been on our radar screen for many years,” Demsey said Friday, adding that she is the personification of the brand’s values: “She’s talented. She’s serious. She’s beautiful. She’s a mother, and she’s respected in her craft.”
For her part, Paltrow, 32, talks like a Lauder fan.
“It’s an American beauty icon,” she said in an interview. “I always liked the self-made nature of Estee Lauder herself.”
Paltrow said the company’s recent revamping has made the brand more palatable to younger consumers. She remembers being struck by the fresh, clean look of a Carolyn Murphy makeup ad at a bus stop.
The actress said this would be her first appearance in beauty advertising, although she was in an ad for a Christian Dior handbag in the late Nineties. Paltrow said she had no qualms about doing commercial work because over the last few years highly regarded actresses, including Halle Berry and Nicole Kidman, have been pitching products. The stigma has evaporated to the point of “becoming cool,” she noted, adding that she has talked with Lauder about doing a different type of commercial that is more “creative, interesting and exciting.”
Paltrow said her mother, actress Blythe Danner, uses Lauder products. Although Paltrow herself uses more skin care than makeup, she spoke highly of Lauder’s mascara, lip gloss, a sea foam body wash and a Crystal Glow Sugar Rub body exfoliator.
“She’s an iconic global beauty and personality who people all over the world aspire to emulate,” said Aerin Lauder, senior vice president of global creative directions at the Lauder brand. “She represents to me the modern woman.”
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The actress has patrician looks and a timeless style that have put her firmly on the A-List since her acting debut in the 1993 film “Flesh and Bone.” Her multiyear Lauder stint will begin with a holiday ad campaign for Pleasures. The print ad has been shot by Mario Testino and art directed by Lauder and creative consultant Doug Lloyd. Lauder described the Pleasures campaign as a relaunch of the brand.
Demsey described Pleasures as Lauder’s global fragrance master brand. Lauder executives did not talk numbers, but industry sources estimate that the Pleasures franchise still generates more than $100 million at wholesale. The Pleasures campaign could cost an estimated $8 million to $10 million, according to industry sources, who speculate that Paltrow might earn $3 million for an unspecified period.
Paltrow joins the current faces of Estee Lauder, models Liya Kebede, Carolyn Murphy and Elizabeth Hurley, all of whom will continue to represent the brand across the makeup, skin care and fragrance categories. Hurley, the original Pleasures model, will become the face of the company’s Re-Nutriv skin care line; ads will hit later this year. Demsey noted that Re-Nutriv, which is estimated by sources to still do $150 million globally, was one of the industry’s original premium-priced skin care brands when it was launched in 1958.
Demsey has wasted no time in making his mark on the 59-year-old company since taking over as global brand president in January. He lured in Thia Breen from Federated Department Stores to become North American president and Andrea Robinson of Ralph Lauren fragrances for the new position of chief marketing officer.
In addition, he inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Ford to launch a Tom Ford for Estee Lauder collection and stand-alone Tom Ford beauty brand. Most recently, Demsey named several executives to new posts, including Daniel Annese, senior vice president and general manager of Estee Lauder International on June 1; Marjorie Lau, replacing Annese as vice president of marketing for Lauder North America; Alicia Valencia, to become vice president of sales and marketing for Latin America and Hispanic markets, and Beth Zurn, vice president of education, North America, for the Lauder brand.
Paltrow will join a slew of stars affiliated with the company, in addition to Ford and Hurley, including Donald Trump, whose eponymous fragrance launched in November, and Ashley Judd, the face of American Beauty, a line of color cosmetics and skin care sold through Kohl’s.
Paltrow won a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award for Best Actress in her role in 1998’s “Shakespeare In Love.” She lives in New York City and London, with her husband, musician Chris Martin of Coldplay and their daughter, Apple, who just turned one.
Paltrow’s next film projects include the film adaptation of Pulitzer-Prize winning play “Proof,” with Anthony Hopkins, and “Running With Scissors,” costarring Annette Bening.