By: Theresa Christine
“Do you dare?” I can remember the exact breathy voice Britney Spears used in the commercial for her new perfume, Curious. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a bottle. I was hardly a fan of hers; rather, she represented something which I desperately wanted to be.
“Using celebrities for promotion is hardly new,” reporter Julie Criswell mentioned in the New York Times. Just think of film stars posing for cigarette companies or Michael Jordan and Nike. The first celebrity endorsement dates back all the way to the 1760s when a British entrepreneur created a tea set for Queen Charlotte. Word got out about his “Queensware,” and it built up a brand image and allowed him to monetize further. And today, you can’t avoid something being inadvertently sold to you through the face of a celebrity because brands know we the people adore celebrities.
“We love to identify with someone who seems to lead a perfect life,” Sheila Kohler mentioned in Psychology Today. While we may not be able to attain all of the glamour their lives have (like film premieres and world tours), maybe—just maybe—we can get a bit of it through the products they use. And what better products to use than the ones which make them so beautiful and enchanting to us in the first place?
Recently, though, it’s not become so much “celebrity endorsements” as it has “celebrity product lines.” While brands continue to collaborate with well-known faces and household names, some celebs have taken it a step further.
Kat Von D has her own line sold at Sephora since 2008. Rhianna launched Fenty Beauty so you can get a bit of that RiRi glow. Kylie Jenner experienced massive success with Kylie Cosmetics—when released, her lip kits reportedly sold out in seven minutes. Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba, and Drew Barrymore are just a few others to sell their own beauty products as well.
With all of these world-famous celebs making sunscreens, makeup, lotions, and more, is it even possible for regular brands to compete? Actually, yes.
Roshida Khanom, the Associate Director for Mintel Beauty & Personal Care, reported that 28% of women are interested in seeing someone who is a strong female role model when it comes to beauty products, but only 7% want to see a celebrity as a makeup brand ambassador.
Celebrities certainly still have selling power—Kylie Jenner’s net worth of $50 million proves that point—but it’s not necessarily where consumer preference will be in a few years. The rise of the blogger or YouTube influencer is the next big thing as people prefer to see more relatable versions of their better selves selling these items.
Mark Velarga, Head of Marketing at PakFactory agreed that non-celebrity beauty brands should look towards influencer marketing. “Many brands are attaching themselves to influencers and celebrities so that they can capture their following on social,” he explained. “Brands would create a product line specifically for them, but it is still managed by the company.”
He also said that consumer behavior is now highly focused on personalization, and it’s no longer a mass mindset of getting whatever everyone else has; instead, people want a more individual, bespoke experience. “While high profile celebrity typically gets the attention of the mass,” he advised, “regular beauty lines are beginning to focus more on niche markets and use all of their marketing resources to capture those specific consumers.”
Furthermore, there’s the issue of quality. Celebrity beauty brands may seem a bit like a fad, but they do offer consumers something a regular brand can’t—hype and recognition on social media when they share their new product with the world. However, Mark added, “The only way consumers will keep coming back and prevent the product from becoming a fad is simply the quality and the experience.”
According to Nielsen, consumers are happy to pay more for better quality products—so if consumers are faced with the decision of something their favorite movie star made or something that actually works, they’ll go with the latter.
No doubt, celebs will continue to launch their own massively lucrative beauty brands. They know we have a weakness for Kat Von D’s stunning eye makeup, Rihanna’s perfectly poreless skin, or even Britney’s effortless sex appeal (or maybe that was just me). Regardless, consumers are changing, and so too must beauty brands. The most successful ones in the near future will rely on being relatable and made exceptionally well rather than pure star power.
Theresa entered the world of design through The Dieline. With a background in writing and journalism, she has a passion for discovery and cultivating human connections. Her work for The Dieline is a constant journey to deeply understand all facets of the design process and to investigate what makes designers tick. Theresa’s writing has taken her snorkeling in between the tectonic plates in Iceland, horseback riding through a rural Brazilian town, and riding an octopus art car at Burning Man with Susan Sarandon as part of a funeral procession for Timothy Leary (long story). When not writing, she is planning her next trip or taking too many pictures of her cat.
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