A Deep Dive Into Celebrity-Owned Brands


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RDJ Will Be There For You...

Robert Downey Jr. just made Courtney Cox’s day and, in the process, did something that many brands hope can be replicated for their own celebrity endorsement campaigns. Downey took to his Instagram and created an over-the-top unboxing social influencer event that shouted from the rooftops that he is a raving fan of Cox’s Homecourt product line of “home beauty” cleaning products. 

What, say you, is a 'home beauty product"? Seemingly, the answer is: "fine fragrance-infused, skincare-inspired, sustainable beauty products for the home." Ok. Cool Sounds lovely. It's a new spin. It seems to fit well into the trending world of "The Home Edit" and Marie Kondo's tidiness. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores the wide world of celebrity-owned brands. 

A Deep Dive Into Celebrity-Owned Brands

Photo Credit: Homecourt 

The Social Posts On Instagram

Check out Robert Downey Jr.'s post:  


Courtney Cox then reposted the video Downey uploaded, with Kate Hudson, Hannah Waddingham, and social influencer Matt Cutshall chiming in with their support.

Check  out Courtney Cox's post:

Now, this is not a brand deal that Cox is your typical run of the mill typical endorser for, as she is the actual brand owner. That means she has a vested interest in ensuring that the brand is a success and a higher likelihood of calling in favors from celebrity friends to help get her some extra love from their feed. As in this case, with over 9.4 million likes and shares on Robert Downey’s account alone - all in less than two days.

The Power Of Ownership

It makes sense for a celebrity to own their brands for several reasons. The biggest reason is that they reap the rewards of (potential) sales from the hawking of their products. When a celebrity is the face of this cosmetic brand or that one over there, they are missing out on the power of their faces and settling for just the ‘now’ of fees paid as the endorser versus stakeholder.

Homecourt Courteney Cox home beauty brand celebrity owned brand celebrity equity

Photo Credit: Homecourt 

An equity position is robust and provides wins to both the celebrity and brand partner. It’s the true essence of a mutually beneficial partnership. Each entity is there to build the most substantial company possible for long-term success - versus just a 12-month to 3-year celebrity endorsement campaign deal. Hey — Paul Newman seemed to know a thing or two even before the advent of social media with all those salad dressings over the years!

So How Does It All Happen?

Celebrities don’t typically wake up in the night and say hmm… I am going to launch a BRAND, then snap their fingers and make a brand appear overnight. We all can recognize that a significant amount of work goes into ideating and developing a brand and the product line's entire creation, marketing, and sales. 

Often, when a celebrity has a brand they ‘own’ launched, they align with a company that already has all the behind-the-scenes in place, creating a white label celebrity ownership experience where there is no visible connection to another brand. All the actual development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales are handled by a team that has already dialed into that specific niche brand category – allowing the celebrity to play a significant role in decision making around development that they are comfortable with, without necessarily the heavy lift of full-blown entrepreneurship - and then serving as the face and platform of the brand. I’m not saying that celebrities never launch and self-fund the whole creation of a business – it’s just that a lot find some extra help along the way who will help with the heavy lifting to ensure higher success. The majority of companies fail.

Jessica Alba Honest Company celebrity owned brands

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo | Getty Images 

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Making The Brand A Fit 

For Homecourt, Cox aligns spot on with her inner neat-freak Monica. Pretty spot-on for sure. Just like Jennifer Aniston’s new brand of hair care products align with The Rachel.  Cox helped her Friend out seven months ago with her own carefully produced social-influencer promoted post on Instagram for Aniston’s haircare brand Lolavie.

I mentioned Kate Hudson having jumped on Cox’s product bandwagon to support Homecourt.  Hudson is another celebrity that has made brand ownership her go-to for celebrity partnerships of late. From Fabletics activewear, Juice Beauty green skincare and makeup line, Inbloom powder nutritional supplements, and alkaline water vodka King St, she has created brand lines that she serves as the face of and which embody her character and core beliefs. Aligning – and appealing - perfectly to her fans.

When these deals are crafted correctly, the business sales results can outshine brands who do mega traditional media advertising.

Kate Hudson Fabletics celebrity owned brands

Photo Credit: Fabletics 

Raining Money

Now do these celebrity endorsements result in sales? Let’s take a look at my journey down the marketing funnel.

This is not my first rodeo where I've fallen for (I mean been inspired by) a celebrity endorsement and purchased a product. In fact, a few months ago, after seeing that same social post on Courtney Cox’s feed, I bought LolaVie's hair detangler. Jennifer Aniston owns that same company. 

By the way - I did not even need a hair detangler. But I still purchased it.  My immediate hmm moment was, "Her hair is just so so awesome. Will my hair be a little bit more awesome if I use it? Worth the $25 purchase to find out!  And then purchased.  It's still sitting on my bathroom shelf many months later, and I think I've used it twice. I have no idea if it was worth it - yet. But in writing this I am re-inspiring myself. When I run out (if I do) of my old and truly favorite hair detangler, maybe I'll find out.

LOLAVIE Jennifer Aniston hair care company celebrity owned company

Photo Credit: LoLaVie

Celebrity Endorsements Just Plain Work

If you can't tell - I personally have experienced that celebrity endorsement campaigns can work well for brands. The above was not my first ever purchase inspired by an A-lister. Plus, I have countless clients tell me that they do for them, too!

I thought I’d try to dive into my brain for a quick market research study to look at what made me purchase.  So here go those ten steps that led me to part ways with much money for dish soap - a ridiculous lot of money.

  1. I first took notice of the product in Robert Downey Jr.’s feed. I thought it was strange to see a cleaning product on his feed. So I watched it several times. Over and over and over again. At least ten times. Seriously. First without sound. Then with sound.
  2. Then I popped over to @Homecourt, which was tagged in his Instagram post. I had figured it was Courtney Cox’s brand based on Downey’s Instagram caption.  But I had never heard of Homecourt, so I was curious.  Thirty-five posts with only a single post featuring Courtney Cox. They seem to like keeping it simple on that feed - and not overly Courtney it out.
  3. So I headed then to Courtney Cox's Instagram feed to see how much she had posted about the brand. The answer is five times in four months. 
  4. Then I checked out the brand's website. I really, really really liked the vibes.  Unsurprisingly likely due to a combination of supply chain issues and the fact that celebrity endorsements work, most of the product lines were sold out.  I kept on scrolling.
  5. Something to know - I am a ridiculous fan of L'Occitane's Verbena hand wash. Every sink in my house has one of their plastic refillable (and branded) bottles sitting ready to dispense lovely lemony-lime hand soap.  It wasn't hard to sell my husband on the 'need' for us to have pricey high-end soap as he likes the product (and ease of pump soap) too. We feel a little bit more special and glammed up. But our dish soap in the kitchen - it is Palmolive. It works excellent, LOVE it for a good pan scrub, and it's super affordable but... ugly. There is nothing 'cute' about it sitting on my countertop - a reason why a competitor brand like Method has done so well due to their focus on packaging for that brand. So when I saw Cipres Mint dish soap, I paused.  And I read the description. It caught my eye. 
  6. And then I realized something. That was the SAME scent Robert Downey Jr. had written about. Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe also not so much. I had registered and taken note.
  7. This led to some more Googling to determine what the scent Cipres Mint meant. I like citrus. Is Cipres like citrus? It sounds similar. Ok. And I do like fresh mint. In my deep dive online for those words, I discovered that parent company entity Jobi Cece Home Fragrance, Inc. filed for trademarks across all the Homecourt brand and product names. Something brands sometimes forget to do – and so important, especially if you are attached to a celebrity. It’s not worth having someone try to blackmail your brand by having ownership of your company or product names. So now I've gone down the rabbit hole of ALL THE PRODUCTS TO COME.  Seriously. They've trademarked Many brand categories ranging from after-shave lotions, all-purpose cleaners; antistatic dryer sheets; baby lotion and wipes; and 50+ more product lines. 
  8. I toggled back to the brand website. Reviews were lit! On fire! 5 stars.  Ok, that means something to me too. Seriously. I won't buy anything under four stars and typically look for 4.5 stars on up.
  9. Then I opened up the Cipres Mint Dish Soap and saw that it was listed for the whopping price tag of $20. I note that they don't have refills like L'Occitane (yet).  Now you need to know another thing about me. I LOVE a good promo code. I ALWAYS hunt online for promo codes, some of which I occasionally find before purchasing. I forgot even to look this time. It could be that I figured a celebrity-owned brand was less likely to have promo codes online. But that isn't true. But in this case, I didn't try to save any money.
  10. I just purchased the soap. Done deal. Now I wait for delivery.

Want To Do A Celebrity Equity Partnership?

While celebrities may traditionally be invested in other companies with their own money or build startup companies from scratch, there is a 3rd way a star can get ownership or at least the taste of it, even if it is not a fully customized brand extension. We’re finding celebrities more and more want actual ownership in brands versus just partnering with a brand as the face of the campaign.

Be sure to read the article below where I get into the nitty-gritty of working with celebrities with equity partnership deals:  10 Insights On Giving A Celebrity Equity In Your Brand.

But buyers, be warned.  Not every celebrity is going to bring stardust to your brand.  Nor are they typically going to “perform” to the level of your expectations. No star should obtain equity in a company by simply aligning their name to it and doing a few social posts.  Any contracted deal should have the same detailed thought process as a traditional celebrity endorsement. Each asks, and expectation is placed in writing – with minimum levels of participation defined and possible 'step ups' in shares for going the extra mile. 

That’s not to say a celebrity partner may want to overperform – and want to help grow your brand by providing additional time and effort, including social posts, shoot days for print or TV ads, and press interviews.  But it’s quite frankly not the commonality in celebrity endorsement equity deals, and the bare minimum is often the result.

By the way - I’ll let you know if it smells as divine as the reviews say.

Eager To Learn More?

Interested in learning more about partnering with celebrity-owned brands and exploring celebrity endorsements? Look no further than Hollywood Branded! Below, you'll find some (of many) blog posts about celebrity-owned brands and celebrity endorsements. 

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