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Not Just a Pretty Face: The Power of a Celebrity Endorsement

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: November 7, 2012
Reggie Bush shaving with shaving cream and a razor

Barc Skincare celebrity spokesperson and NFL star Reggie Bush

  • Celebrity endorsements can help beauty brands connect with consumers by matching the celebrity’s attributes and style to those of the brand and its products.
  • Sincerity and authenticity are important in a celebrity endorsement of a beauty brand, and on that basis, the relationship can be built for greater equity, collaboration and partnership.
  • Social media is an excellent outlet for the collaboration between celebrities and beauty brands.

Yesterday’s celebrity spokesperson might have touted a product on billboards, print ads and television commercials—and that’s about it. Today, the game has changed, and celebrities take their endorsement deals extremely seriously, especially since these partnerships can lead to more money than they earn at their day jobs. A savvy brand knows it now takes more than a pretty face or a few witty lines to equal a strong endorsement deal—it has to be a true partnership with a celebrity that exemplifies the brand’s spirit and an agreement with options for collaboration from both parties.

Choosing the Celeb

While a celebrity’s A list credentials can be a major selling point for a brand, there are many other attributes a spokesperson should have. First and foremost, the spokesperson should embody the image of the brand. The Wet n Wild brand recently signed recording artist Fergie as spokesperson due to her one-of-a-kind style. “Not only is she beautiful, she has her own sense of style and the unique ability to go from glamorous to sexy to hip to edgy. That individuality and style is very appealing to women across all age, race and ethnic demographics,” explains Brian Talbot, vice president of marketing for Markwins Beauty Products Inc. “For a brand like Wet n Wild, that appeals to so many women. The brand prides itself on delivering affordable fashion with our own sense of style, and Fergie is the perfect fit.”

That’s not to say that all partnerships must be with Grammy winners in order to be successful—choosing an up-and-coming star in tune with a brand’s values also can lead to a match. “At first glance, Virginia’s fresh-scrubbed beauty and chic sense of style struck us as a great fit for the La Fresh brand image,” says Jennifer Norman, vice president of marketing for La Fresh Group, Inc. of new spokesperson Virginia Williams, star of the series Fairly Legal. “But after several more meetings, we were amazed to discover how much her lifestyle and personal values reflect those of La Fresh.”

Likewise, Amway has partnered with ingenue actress Teresa Palmer as the global face of its Artistry beauty brand. “With Teresa Palmer, we have a global face who is simultaneously emerging in the public eye as a dynamic young woman and talented actress and who personifies the essence of the Artistry brand so well, evoking a sense of confidence, femininity, grace and polish through her own personal and professional achievements,” says Maud Pansing, vice president of global marketing for Amway’s beauty division.

Palmer’s Artistry brand ad campaign launched in fall 2012, but she was unveiled to top Amway distributors at the company’s Founders Council May 2012 event in Italy, and she traveled throughout Asia to attend distributor events for the brand.

More Than Lip Service

It can certainly be beneficial when the celebrity is a fan of the brand before the deal is even made. In fact, when the spokesperson is already an avid user of a brand’s product line, it lends a lot of integrity to the partnership.

“The fact that Colbie Caillat was using and loving the Lily.B line before we ever approached her brings an important credibility and authenticity to her relationship with the brand,” agrees Liz Bishop, founder of Lily.B. “We were considering a number of individuals but after meeting with Colbie, our decision was made. She is enormously talented and has the lifestyle, energy and authenticity that make her the perfect brand partner and first spokesperson [for the Lily.B brand].”

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