The evolution of celebrity endorsement in beauty

April 12, 2017
3 min read

The traditional model

Celebrity endorsements have been central to the advertising sector for decades. Traditional advertising gave the illusion that celebrities used the product they were endorsing: by the 1980s, with the rise of celebrity power, brands harnessed celebrity influence by designing products specifically for the celebrity. Arguably, the most successful example being Nike’s Air Jordan’s, which raised Nike’s profile internationally and is still sold to this day.

However, the credit crunch and information age gave rise to a more sceptical consumer. Post 2008, the way people shopped changed as they sought alternatives to their favourite brands or cheaper ways to source them. The social media and information era changed the way people interacted with celebrities, making them accessible in a way that never existed before. This allowed people to see for themselves whether celebrities used the products they endorsed.

Mintel data shows that low proportions of people say they are influenced by celebrity endorsements of beauty and personal care (BPC) products, even in sectors such as fragrances, where a celebrity name once resulted in products flying off the shelf. Indeed, only 6% of fragrance buyers were influenced by celebrity endorsements in the 12 months to June 2016, with British men in particular less influenced by celebrity endorsements in the BPC sector.

Bucking the trend

Celebrity endorsements aren’t going away and in recent years celebrities have been used for more than just a face or a name. MAC’s collaborations, for example, continue to be popular and Victoria Beckham’s collaboration with Estée Lauder saw the limited edition make-up collection sell out online within a day of its launch. Recent reports suggest that Victoria Beckham is now working with ‘a niche beauty player’ to create a high-end skincare range.

Ariana Grande has bucked the trend in celebrity fragrances by enjoying success for her debut fragrance in 2015, with data from Mintel’s Fragrances UK 2016 report showing that Ariana Grande Fragrances score high for differentiation when compared with other celebrity fragrances. In all these cases, the celebrity was a partner to the brand rather than simply endorsing a product.

A newer celebrity

The type of celebrity used in BPC is also evolving with the rise of social media stars. Mintel’s Face Colour Cosmetics UK 2015 report reveals that only 7% of women are interested in seeing a celebrity as a make-up brand ambassador, with 28% wanting to see someone who is known for being a strong female role model and 19% wanting to see someone who is popular/relevant in today’s culture.

This has given rise to the use of bloggers as beauty influencers and collaborators, with 2017 turning into the year of social media influencer marketing. At the end of 2016, L’Oreal announced the launch of the Beauty Squad, five of UK’s most influential bloggers brought together to create digital content on a range of beauty topics, whilst in 2017 Rimmel announced the Rimmel Road Trip using 12 beauty influencers. Finally, MAC collaborated with ten Instagram beauty influencers in 2017 to debut lipstick shades in partnership with these influencers.

Roshida Khanom, Associate Director, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel, joined in 2012 and writes about the OTC, Beauty & Personal Care industries. Prior to joining Mintel, she was a Senior Researcher at Procter & Gamble’s R&D department in the beauty division, where she launched products globally, identified trends and analysed consumer responses to new innovations with a particular focus in qualitative methods

Roshida Khanom
Roshida Khanom

Roshida Khanom is Director of Beauty & Personal Care Insights, EMEA.

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