Clinique is playing the “Game of Thrones.”
Over the course of its 50-year history, the company has abstained from celebrity ambassadors, opting to instead let its products speak for themselves. But, as global brand president Jane Lauder noted in a recent meeting at Clinique’s offices, “authority has been changing and people want authentic stories.”
Today, Clinique names Emilia Clarke its first global brand ambassador. The British actress, best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones,” will promote Clinique’s custom-fit hydrating system, Clinique iD. When it launched two years ago, Clinique iD was said to be the brand’s biggest launch since Even Better Clinical, with industry sources estimating Clinique iD would do more than $200 million globally in its first year at retail.
Clarke was first introduced to Clinique by her mother, Lauder said. That tidbit was important to Clinique, as the brand wanted someone who was a longtime user — so much so, it sent a consultant to Clarke’s house prior to signing her. Clarke’s outspoken personality and social media presence — she has 26.9 million Instagram followers — were just the icing on the cake.
“We didn’t go with a model, we went with somebody with a human personality,” said Elizabeth Nolan, senior vice president, global creative director, Clinique. “She’s got such a human, emotional, real authenticity to her. She’s funny, she’s honest, she hasn’t shied away from being herself. That sums up the Clinique consumer as well.”
“When we think about inclusivity and diversity, it’s not just ethnicity or age, it’s also breadth of experiences and attitudes and different ways you express yourself,” Lauder added. “We felt she really did that.”
Clarke, who has spoken up about her feminist views in the film industry and beyond, was keen on taking on the ambassadorship because she felt that Clinique was aligned with her values of encouraging women to look like the best versions of themselves while helping them simplify their lives.
“The brand feels fresh and relatable and universal, and those are the traits I believe in,” said Clarke, who wore barely any makeup and a simple white shift dress during an interview in London. “They’re not trying to make people look different, they’re trying to make people look like themselves, which is ideal because we can’t keep striving to be something we’re not anymore. That’s an absolute recipe for lifelong misery.”
Her preferred product is Clinique’s iD BB gels, a series of moisturizing gels which can be mixed and matched with different active serums.
“I stand by the concept because it’s all about whatever’s good for you, whatever you like,” she said. “It’s a great reminder that we should be encouraging and nurturing the individual.”
Quick-to-use, fail-safe products are the way to go in the increasingly complex, saturated beauty market, Clarke added.
“There’s so many new brands — vegan brands, scientific brands — it can be really bloody confusing when you just want something that works,” she said. “If you don’t have the money to spend on a huge amount of new stuff that maybe next month will make your eyebrows fall off, that stamp of approval and heritage feels safer. It almost comes pre-approved, whilst still being modern. That simple outlook, for me, is a relief.”
More from WWD.com: