The Collaboration Between Fine Jewelry And Music Artist
This summer, Rihanna launched a partnership with fine jewelery designer Chopard to develop her own line sold by the jeweler. This is a major step forward in the industry from the traditional roles of red carpet styling. And a partnershp that is getting a lot of PR attention.
With a mega star like Rihanna, who has a massive following, Chopard stands to not only gain immediate sales, but a brilliant future marketing hold on millennials who may not quite have the money yet - but will aspire to purchase the brand when they one day do. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded provides insight as to what makes celebrity partnerships with luxury brands work, using the collaboration between Rihanna's celebrity jewelery endorsement for Chopard as a case study.
Why Celebrites And Luxury Brands Work
Celebrities and luxury brands are a natural complement to one another. Chopard’s new licensed line "Rihanna Loves Chopard” creates a vested interest by Rihanna to help support the brand – above and beyond just wearing Chopard on the red carpet, or in print ads.
When a brand hires a celebrity, they want the celebrity to become invested in the brand, as the brand is in the celebrity. And that’s where a lot of celebrity endorsement campaigns fail. A celebrity partnership typically is a very significant monetary spend by the brand – and that is just for getting the rights to the celebrity. That doesn’t include the costs of producing TV or print commercials, or the media buys to run the ads. The spend by the brand continues to build – as a celebrity by themselves isn’t going to magically bring awareness all on their own to the brand. There are only so many social media posts a celebrity can be expected do, or appearances to make wearing (or using) the brand and talking about it to media. And the brand must find a way to make the partnership feel organic and genuine, or consumers will be turned off.
A Celebrity Collaboration - A Brand Investment
A celebrity collaboration on the other hand – where the celebrity is not only being paid as an endorser, but also can make money (a lot of money) from royalties on sales, helps get that buy in by both the celebrity and by their fans. It turns the relationship into being organic and supportive versus just another brand dropping their product onto the celebrity.
Brands have been trying different ways to gain celebrity investment – from both BlackBerry appointing Alicia Keyes and Polaroid appointing Lady Gaga as their respective Creative Directors. The brand gains a great PR talking point – and possible marketing insight into the very dedicated fan world of the celebrity. Celebrities build major following, it is intrinsic to what being a celebrity means, and brands hope that not only the stardust but the marketing know-how will rub off on the brand through these partnerships.
While this is a unique move by a luxury jewelry brand, it is not one that is unprecedented by brands of other categories. Celebrity branded product lines can create major sales for a brand. There is a reason why Nike, Under Armor, and Adidas all have footwear designed by celebrities across music, sports and acting. Even Rihanna partnered with and created the FENTY x PUMA sneaker and outerwear collection. Both Jennifer Lopez and Zayn Malik worked with Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti to create their own limited lines. Even mass-marketer Target brought Victoria Beckam on board for the same reasons. Regardless of household income, celebrity-dom makes a major impact on consumer fans of all types – and highly influencers purchases. In fact, my agency did a survey on what that impact looked like, and found that 43% of consumers have been influenced to purchase products after seeing a celebrity endorsement.
PR Value Vs. Sales Success
Really, whether the Rihanna collection becomes a best seller is not of importance. Chopard has managed to break through the clutter, gaining major free earned PR and advertising as they have created a hot topic of conversation. Chopard has also managed to open the doors to a younger demographic that was less familiar with their brand, and who will view the brand as cool and aspirational. As this demo ages, their purchase decisions on jewelry will have been colored and impacted by this celebrity partnership, heightening future sales.
Hollywood Celebrity Impact On Brand Sales
Hollywood’s relationship with fine jewelers has changed only in that it has become more commercialized and more reliant on contractual deals and money exchanging hands. Having a celebrity wear a specific jewelry line on a red carpet a decade ago did not lead to the entire world knowing of the collaboration in a heartbeat of a social media post or digital article. Now such a collaboration could cost the celebrity a future endorsement deal – as wearing a brand and touting it during Awards season may preclude that celebrity from being offered a jewelry print ad campaign later that same year.
Having a celebrity wear a brand of jewelry on the red carpet does impact sales of the brand through the heightened awareness. It also however comes down to what actually occurred for the brand. Did the celebrity simply wear the necklace or earrings? Or did they speak with media about the beautiful piece and end up in an editorial complete with pictures in a magazine? Did the celebrity post about their look, or tag the brand in their picture for all to see? Did the brand have rights to socially share the fact that the celebrity word the design? All of these components are part of celebrity deals brokered by brands or their agencies. The fact is, celebrities sell brands they are associated with. They bring the brand to life, typically on bodies that are beautiful works of arts themselves, or on personalities that shine brighter than the jewels they wear. Celebrities bring heightened awareness to the brand, and create aspiration by fans wanting to be just like them. Even if that is one day in the future.
The Importance Of Celebrities To Luxury Brands
Celebrities are of extreme importance to luxury brands. Opportunities to dress celebrities for red carpet walks at premiere parties and award shows are fought over and highly coveted. Celebrities allow luxury brands to remain top of mind and more relevant to younger demographics who will become aspirational purchasers in later years. And social media has only made the celebrity and luxury worlds become even bigger. No longer is the luxury brand reliant on hoping the celebrity will name drop their brand – now after an appearance on a red carpet the brand itself can snag a picture and shout from the rooftops – and quickly make their statements go viral. Or in best case scenarios, the celebrity themselves – or their stylists - may drop a hint of the brand they are wearing on their own platforms.
And with the growth of social media allowing more leveraging of the celebrity, has come an increase in the costs of securing a celebrity to wear a brand. For some designers, their names themselves are enough to gain the favor of a celebrity. For others, dependent as well on the celebrity themselves, it comes down to money. Even Meryl Streep was rumored earlier this year to have refused to wear Chanel as it was not accompanied by a cash offer when Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld stated this as fact (which Streep denied).
So How Much Are Celebrities Paid By Brands?
Celebrities may be paid anywhere up to six figures to wear clothing or jewelry by a brand on a red carpet. And millions of dollars for partnerships like Rihanna's and Chopards. Many brands are now looking for these larger and longer term partnerships with a celebrity versus a one-hit-wonder walk on the red carpet. With the longer term deals, ad campaigns often accompany with a minimum year to three year commitment, with the celebrity becoming the face of the brand. These deals may range into the multi-millions of dollars based on the time and participation requirements by the celebrity.
The Competitive World Of Dressing Celebrities
Having a celebrity wear a jewelry brand or luxury line is highly competitive. Typically arrangements are brokered through either the celebrity’s stylist or their talent agent, depending on the nature of the deal. Today, many high powered stylists are paid by brands to add their product lines to the celebrities they dress.
One of the growing trends of the future will be creating more collaborations directly with these high powered stylists and brokers of fashion. The decade of the Stylist is upon us – with more recognition being given to their talents of dressing the stars. Even Mattel has capitalized on a stylist with their recent Barbie and Beyonce collaboration we wrote about.
Luxury Brands Preparing For Tomorrow's Sales
As mentioned earlier in this blog, using celebrities like Rihanna and Lady Gaga for Tiffany & Co. is a move by luxury brand marketers to gain appeal to millennial clientele. The luxury brand category has always been very reticent to co-brand alongside a celebrity – beyond draping the line on the celebrity themselves. The brands are now hoping that not only will the celebrity bring attention to the brand line, but help impact future sales by making the brand more hip, cool and cutting edge. Luxury brands can often have a bit of a stuffiness to them – which does not appeal to millennials. Celebrities break that boundary and make the brand relevant to the younger demographics, while still creating the aspirational pull that is required to drop major dollars on a luxury brand purchase.
The future of luxury brands is based on those brands finding a way to appeal to millennial audiences. Most luxury brands have been around for decades – but how they have marketed themselves is not appealing to a millennial demo that is looking for brands who help the world by contributing to or impacting cause marketing. Many millennials value where they spend money very differently than those of the Gen X or Baby Boomer generations. Experiences for many are more important than a single big purchase. Finding a way to communicate and engage with a millennial as they grow through life has to be the backbone to any brand’s strategy – of any category.
Ready To Work With A Celebrity For Your Brand?
This blog idea originated from a request by writer Annie Brown from the Australian Finacial Review to have our agency's CEO, Stacy Jones, weigh in on Brown's article How Rihanna is helping Chopard sell high jewellery. To learn more about high powered stylists who hold the power to brand celebrities, read this article from the Hollywood Reporter on the 25 Powerful Stylists of Hollywood where our agency's CEO is also quoted.
If you are not quite ready to hire a celebrity to become the face of your brand, you may want to consider hiring a celebrity or two or three to attend an upcoming brand launch event. Our downloadable e-book provides insider tips and tricks that will help you find success in hiring celebrities!