NEW YORK — The influence celebrities have on consumer beauty trends is changing the way the largest professional hair care company in the U.S. spends its advertising dollars.
Matrix, a division of L’Oréal USA, is partnering with Us Weekly magazine, the celebrity bible, to promote its vast array of salon hair care products, which include the Biolage, Sleek Look and Amplify brands.
Beginning Feb. 13, Us’ Grammy issue, Matrix will feature a four-page advertorial called “Award-Winning Look,” featuring a step-by-step makeover on Grammy Award nominee Martina McBride. The ad will contain a guide of how to achieve McBride’s beauty look, created by Matrix stylists, as well as before and after photos and the Matrix products that were key to achieving McBride’s style.
McBride, a country singer, is nominated for two Grammy Awards this year, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video. The Grammy show airs Feb. 8.
Matrix is also strategically timing multipage ads around future awards shows to appear in Us, including the Oscars, Emmys, Daytime Emmys and MTV Video Music Awards. Us, which has been instrumental in garnering stars for the ads, would not reveal who would be featured in the future. Matrix also declined to comment.
The partnership with Us marks Matrix’s first move to advertise in an entertainment magazine. Traditionally, Matrix advertises in beauty and trade magazines.
“For 2004, we looked to have deeper relationships with fewer key publications rather than spreading ourselves thin,” said Deborah Marquardt, Matrix’s assistant vice president of communications, who joined the company in December. “I think a lot of people are starting to be very strategic and make each [advertising] dollar count.”
This year, Matrix cut the number of consumer magazines it will advertise in by 50 percent, compared with last year. In 2004, entertainment publications will account for 30 percent of Matrix’s ad spending, versus zero last year. Marquardt added that the company is not spending less money this year for print ads. “It’s just a different formula, a different way to slice the pie.”
Matrix is looking at a 360-degree integration between advertising and the salons that sell its products. “Many consumers — and even stylists — look to celebrity magazines for [beauty] trends,” Marquardt said.
Us Weekly’s publisher, Vicci Lasdon Rose, doesn’t see Matrix’s move to advertise in an entertainment publication as a sign that beauty and fashion magazines are less important, but rather a sign that beauty and fashion is as entrenched in celebrity as ever.
“If you think about it, in the fall of 1996, more celebrities began appearing on the covers of fashion and beauty magazines. So we, per se, have not been stealing from them, but to remain more current, they have been taking away from us,” Rose said. Beauty ranks as Us’ second-largest advertising category, behind entertainment.
Being a weekly magazine, however, does give Us an advantage: the opportunity to provide a sense of urgency and freshness consumers crave. “When Jennifer Aniston changed her haircut we were able to report on that [immediately],” Rose said.