One of Stila’s “Legally Blonde 2” compacts.

Brands like Stila are taking the idea of celebrity pitchwomen a step further, by creating cosmetics collections that are tied into films.

NEW YORK — The term “Hollywood beauty connection” used to mean that stars were wearing your makeup. Now, it seems to mean that your makeup is the star — or, at least, one of them.

This story first appeared in the March 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Celebrity spokesmodels have been makeup’s tie to Hollywood since the early days and the trend really heated up in the last decade, particularly with the introduction of In Style magazine, not to mention all the A-list actresses acting as celebrity pitchwomen for major cosmetics brands. All in all, it’s a trend that’s been a long time coming: In the Eighties, there were even a few short-lived fragrances based on TV characters, such as Forever Krystle, based on the Dynasty character.

Now, brands are taking the trend one step further —?by creating cosmetics collections which are tied into films, and in some cases, promoting them right on the packaging.

Stila Cosmetics is one of the latest to jump on the bandwagon, with two movie-themed collections and a lipstick tied into a new book.

Stila’s “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde” products include a limited-edition grouping of makeup palettes which feature the movie’s logo prominently on their covers — alongside the brand’s signature Stila girl dressed like Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods. Inside the book-shaped palettes, quotes from Witherspoon’s character are printed next to each color. The two “Look Books,” each of which will be packaged along with one of two new “Legally Blonde 2”-themed shades of Lip Glaze — Elle Pink and Elle Blush — will be released June 19, and the movie premieres July 2. A set with one Look Book and one Lip Glaze will retail for $45. Claudia Poccia, senior vice president and general manager of Stila Cosmetics, expects the palettes to be sold through by the end of July. While the shades are all limited editions, some could eventually reenter the line, depending on reaction, noted Jeanine Lobell, founder of Stila.

Stila is also releasing a cosmetics collection in April around the movie, “Down With Love,” which premieres May 16, and has created a lipstick shade for Simon Doonan’s new book, “Wacky Chicks,” which will be released April 22, noted Jane Lauder, Stila’s vice president of global marketing. The “Legally Blonde 2” collection will be available at Sephora only and will be supported by signage and windows at the chain, while the Down with Love line will be available in Stila’s full U.S. distribution of 256 doors and Wacky Chicks will be available in Barneys New York, Stila’s freestanding stores and on While none of the Stila executives would comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the collections would do about $1 million at retail in total.

Others who have tried the movie concept recently include Revlon, with its limited-edition Bond Girl collection tied into the recent James Bond epic, “Die Another Day” — the company also has a promotion running with the recent film, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” — and Max Factor, which is promoting its new LipFinity Lustres shades and Stretch and Separate Mascara through an advertising program tied in with the movie “Chicago.”

The Revlon collection, on counter from October through December, included products with names like Hot Pursuit Pink, Berry Avenger, Captive Coral and Jinx —?as well as gift sets referencing earlier Bond films such as “From Russia With Love” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.” One of the stars of “Die Another Day,” Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, is a spokeswoman for Revlon.

“These partnerships can come about in a variety of ways,” noted Mary Goss Robino, senior vice president of national promotions for MGM. Robino was involved in the cosmetics partnership deals for “Legally Blonde 2” and “Die Another Day,” among others. “Sometimes a makeup artist will use a certain brand, and we’ll leverage that connection somehow, or a star may be a spokesperson for a cosmetics brand and we’ll start talking to them as a result of that connection. In the case of “Legally Blonde 2,” Reese [Witherspoon] and Jeanine [Lobell] know each other, and Reese loves Stila. And the brand fits incredibly well with the movie’s main character.”

Sometimes there are additional storyline considerations as well: “We needed a brand that didn’t do animal testing, because part of the storyline involves Reese’s character, Elle, going to Washington to lobby against animal testing,” Robino noted.

Not all partnerships are as involved as Stila’s, which includes cosmetics products with the movie’s logo on the front of the compact and quotes from the character inside. Others involve products placed in scenes or used on the set, with credit given to the makeup line, and others have advertising tie-ins or point-of-sale promotions, with the product not involved on screen or on set at all. “In this case, it made the most sense to involve the character, Elle,” said Robino. In fact, the movie has other beauty sponsors, including OPI, which will do a nail collection called Red, White and Blonde, and Frédéric Fekkai, who will promote the film in his spas and tag his Baby Blonde shampoo with promotional information. Lobell and Fekkai are also part of a sweepstakes promoting the movie; the winner will receive a trip to the Los Angeles premiere, with her makeup done by Lobell and her hair by Fekkai.

Financial arrangements for such deals vary. Stila executives say that no money changed hands for the “Legally Blonde” promotion. Robino wouldn’t comment on specific deals, but noted, “There are several different ways they can be done. Sometimes there is a licensing fee; other times, no money changes hands but there are other reasons to do it. Perhaps the cosmetics brand is spending money on advertising or public relations, for instance.” Case in point: Stila is planning national advertising in July issues of Elle and Lucky, supporting the products; Revlon and Max Factor also put major advertising and promotional muscle behind their movie tie-ins.

Benefits? “These types of deals really benefit both parties,” said Robino. “A brand would benefit from the association with a hot movie, and the movie has a product that makes sense to the consumer and gets the name of the product out there.”

But still, the connection has to make sense. “We’ve gotten calls for films that, while they’re great films, make no sense with our brand,” said Lobell. “There has to be a natural flow, or you risk compromising your brand’s credibility.” Lauder agreed: “As a brand, we’ve made sure that there is a connection, and that we’re not just doing this to get a mention. It has to be genuine.”

And for Poccia, the connection makes sense on yet another level. “Stila was founded by a working makeup artist, [the brand] is based in L.A., and as a brand, has a core-level connection to Hollywood,” she said. “The way we see it, we’re building brand equity by solidifying our roots.”

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