The use of celebrity faces by various brands in cosmetics and fashion is nothing new these days. It used to be models who were the faces of brands. These days, with celebrity culture being so rife, and with celebrities being able to influence pop culture so much, brands are turning to celebrities to endorse their products and designs. We talked about it once before to see if we were influenced by celebrity endorsements and the general answer there was no.
If there is another trend I notice, it is that these celebrity faces are getting younger and younger. I realise that the brands want to capture the younger market. Catch them young and hope they’ll stay with you as they grow, seems to be their view.
The young too seem to be more willing to spend on higher end products, either because they identify with said celebrities or whether they just have more disposable income on hand and focus on the “me” and the “now”.
I do wonder though if these faces and especially younger faces affect how you feel about a brand and its products? I have realised that it has affected me and perhaps not in the way the brands have anticipated.
I’ll take one example. Lancome and Emma Watson. I randomly thought about this phenomenon while messing around with the Rouge in Love lipstick and is the most glaring example for me.
I love Emma Watson. From her debut as Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter movie franchise, I’ve liked her. She was cute as a button and as she grew up, she thankfully displayed none of the excesses and tantrums that many young child stars do. Outwardly anyway. She also has grown up to be a lovely young lady with classic good looks and is quite a beauty with style sense to boot. She is in fact, the perfect catch for a brand like Lancome to makeover their image as a brand for older women. Younger girls, having grown up the past decade with Harry Potter movies and books can identify with her and these are the young ladies just starting out with makeup and skincare. Perfect timing!
Unfortunately for me, its had the rather opposite effect. I am age-wise, past the target market Lancome is trying to reach. I love Emma Watson but she is too young an image for me. And it seems to me that it is starting to show in the products. The new eyeshadow palettes tend to be sheer and too light and pastel. I loved Lancome’s old Color Focus eyeshadow palettes. Colours were beautiful, fairly pigmented and fairly interesting. The new blushes, whilst pretty are a bit too shimmery and sheer. I like sheer shadows and blushes, but if I want to do sheer I’d go with a Japanese brand. They know how to do a sheer yet pigmented texture. Something few Western brands have managed to successfully emulate.
The new Rouge in Love lipstick too is lovely but its sheer and light, and the colours are, I find, a little boring and too safe. Perfect for the young lady just starting to try out lipsticks. It is by all accounts a very lovely lipstick. But the packaging and the ad campaign makes me feel too old to be even wearing it. Its nothing to do with age being a number, its just what I think looking at the products and campaign. I like the formula of Rouge in Love but I don’t like the feel of the packaging. I much prefer the more classic and classy design of the Rouge l’Absolu lipstick case, and its formula. It gave me something to aspire towards instead of handing it to me on a platter and I feel like a lady using it and it was what I wanted, when I was in the “Emma Watson target age group” of consumers. There was a bit of prestige about it that I loved.
Another example is the Blanc Expert whitening serum launched this year. Emma Watson is a lovely English Rose with a complexion to match. I personally don’t think using her in the ad campaign and making her look that white when I know she is so young, makes me want to try the product (I didn’t). So sadly, these days, whenever I see Emma Watson in a Lancome campaign, I go “Ooh she looks lovely!” but tend to switch off and think its just not targeted at me. Unfortunate, I say, because the products could well be good stuff.
On the other end of the scale is Julia Roberts who is I feel, much too far off the age scale from Emma Watson. I can’t identify with her either because I remember her from her Pretty Woman days which is when I was the target market for Lancome and that was so long ago! So I’m thinking “I can’t possibly be using what she’s using now! I’m too young!” Catch-22 situation eh?
So, that’s how I feel. The face of the brand can make me switch off my interest in the brand. Knowing that Emma Watson just turned 22 a few weeks ago emphasizes the age factor and target market more for me. I just feel that if Emma Watson, a young lady of 22 is using it, how can it be relevant to me, someone much older than she is? I think I am less affected if it was just a random model’s face used in the promotional ad. That way, I am interested in the product and have no thoughts on the person pushing it.
Are you affected by the celebrity face of a brand either positively or negatively? Does a celebrity face of a brand affect your perception of the brand or its products? This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while so perhaps its just me who feels this way. Please feel free to share your thoughts 🙂
78 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
I don’t necessarily buy products because of celebrity endorsements, but I think the right face/image definitely serves to strengthen a brand’s image. I think Karlie Kloss is a great choice for Dior (even though KK is only the face for the ads and not an “official” ambassador) especially since she’s been opening their fashion shows for a few seasons now. Monica Bellucci for Dolce & Gabbana is a great fit as well.
Paris B says
Ok you know what? I had no idea who Karlie Kloss is so I looked her up and ah! She’s the face of the Dior campaigns! But you see, I don’t feel positively or negatively towards the brand or products because I don’t know who she is so I focus on what she’s advertising 🙂 Now, Natalie Portman is, I think quite a nice catch for Dior. She’s got a classic look about her but if they started using her for Capture Totale, I’m going to really raise my eyebrows!
Actually, I think that celebrity spokespersons do not affect me in a positive manner i.e to induce/encourage me to buy their brands. However, it DOES affect me in a negative way, that’s for sure – as in, if someone I dislike is the face of the brand, I would actually not purchase items from that brand. Yes, I shallow like that 😛
Also, Emma Watson in the Tresor Midnight Rose ad really feels “tak kena” to me. It’s like she’s way too young to embody the womanly sultriness that I feel is represented by that perfume. I’m still going to buy it though LOL!
Yeah, me too… the face of the brand does not lure me into buying, instead, will push me away completely if they use someone i don’t like. n Yes, I’m that shallow too ^_^
Plus if the brand have endless list of faces one after another, i.e 1 face for M’sia 1 face for Japan and then another face for US, then my logic is I might as well put my hard-earned money to good use on other brands which only have 1 ambassador at a time. ( Now u know which brand is crossed out from my list )
Paris B says
Haha I know what you mean exactly! Emma Watson in that Midnight Rose made it look like she was trying a bit too hard. If it had been say, Miracle which is a much lighter fragrance, then I think she would have fit the role better.
Honestly, I think using a celebrity as a face to launch a certain product is rather dated. Given I am no marketing guru, I can only speak for myself that it really doesn’t work. I don’t care who you use, if your product is crap, there’s no way I would buy it. Someone mentioned that product companies might want to spend less money on getting celebrity endorsements and pass on the savings to their loyal consumers. I can’t agree more.
Yeah I agree with you, LeGeeque. Product campaign funds is better used for sampling and also product survey results from a group of women for example.
Paris B says
I agree with you 100% too. Just give us good products at a good price already!
The only way a celebrity face affects my purchase is if I don’t like the celebrity. For example, I’ve been drawn to some shades from Nicole by OPI’s Kardashian line, but I would never purchase it.
I agree with Xiao in that some celebrity-brand partnerships really work, at least for me (i.e. Emma Watson + Lancome, Emily Blunt + YSL, Liv Tyler + Givency, etc.); but there are others where I find that there’s something that feels slightly off to me (Anne Hathaway + Lancome, Gwyneth Paltrow + Estée Lauder, etc.).
I’d like to add that I LOOOVE the Vanessa Paradis + Chanel campaign. <3
Paris B says
From what I’ve seen, most people will feel strongly if its a celeb they dislike but if its one they like, they aren’t about to run out and buy anyway. We all sound so rational… until we enable each other LOL!
No…it doesn’t plead me to buy the product with the celebrity endorsement. However it does make me think of ‘ah…they are paying more to the celebrity’ whenever there is a price increase in the products. I’m not convinced that the price hike is for the quality of the product itself, but rather it’s for the celebrity ambassador’s hefty charges.
Paris B says
Oh yes, I think the same way too! Every new face they sign on mean more $$$ But I was really curious to know not whether they influence your purchase but whether a celeb (whether you like them or not) give you any perceptions about the brand either positively or negatively? 🙂
oh yes….I’ll react negatively especially when I don’t like the ambassador, I won’t buy any of the products endorse by them…on the other hand, I’ll still consider the quality and price of the products before digging into my pocket for it even if I like the ambassador. =) However, the negative perception is not on the brand itself as some brands (instead most brands) are using different ambassador for different range of their products…so, only the particular range (if I don’t like). =P
Don’t forget Kate Winslet does Lancome ads-I think she’s the one that’s for you lol!
I thought this exactly when those Lancome Rouge In Love Lipsticks came out-not for my age group at all! Oh how I miss the days of Isabella Rossellini!
Paris B says
She would be, but they don’t push her here 🙁 All I see is Emma Watson and the whitening campaign is HUGE here so as you can imagine, I have a lot of WTF feelings 😛 Oh I have to agree with you about Isabella Rossellini! She ran some really amazing campaigns!
no, it doesnt really affect me that much… i tend to buy products following word of mouth advice or reviews from makeup alley and beauty bloggers…
Paris B says
I do tend to go more for word of mouth too. I guess I’m just one of the rare few who feel that certain celebs just don’t do the brand/product justice 🙂
Good morning Paris. Interesting post and it is spot on – it echoes my views and thoughts as well on celebrity endorsement. I am a late bloomer in skincare so I am way past the juvenile temptation of believing that if celebrity X uses skincare brand Y, I will have beautiful and wonderful skin like her. To begin with, I had very troubled skin so no amount of smooth skin posters will tempt me the least 🙂
While it was great to see Emma Watson’s face all over Lancome’s product campaign, from Midnight Rose to Blanc Expert, it also felt a little juvenile. How many 22 year olds currently in university can afford these products? And just exactly how troubled are their skin to need Blanc Expert? Perhaps it’s the principle behind starting early for better skin later in life 😀 So yeah, it can be a little turn off when I get the impression that it’s for youngsters.
On the other end of the campaign scale, we have mature figures like QiQi and Julia Roberts which are really a little too matured for my age group. So it will make me shy away from such brands as well…Or Elizabeth Arden is commonly associated with older and matured women, which is not a bad thing at all. When I started to use Estee Lauder products, my colleague felt that it was more for “old women”, but the products work wonders for me and I am not an old women – heck. I love it 😀
Paris B says
I think using a celeb makes us more aware of their age. A brand that doesn’t push a “face” but has an “older woman” image will still interest me. But if I know they are using a certain celebrity and we all know what sorts of age group they fall into, it becomes less convincing. I much prefer the use of models, and less so celebrities or maybe just one or two celebrities to push fragrances or something more generic like foundation 🙂
I’m not influenced by celebrity endorsement. I’ll buy products that I like and works well with my skin. Plus, I think even how good the celebrity looks on the ad, they aren’t that good looking in real life. It’s all the miracle of make-up techniques and photoshop! Even if we buy the products, we won’t look as perfect as the celebrity in the ad. It’s all marketing techniques and we shouldn’t be influenced by them. We should just buy products that works with us, not products that looks good on the celebs. And same goes if we think that the products aren’t suitable for us just because the celebrity that endorsed it is not within our age-group. I once thought that Dior’s One Essential pre serum isn’t suitable for me bcoz Sharon Stone is using it and she’s old! That was until I tried it and noticed that it works wonder on my skin although I’m like Sharon’s daughter. haha….
Paris B says
I think ad campaigns are taking air brushes way too far these days. Everyone looks poreless, lineless and white. Its sometimes quite scary no? Whilst I’m not influenced by celebrities (I have celebrity blindness) I am put off by the use of celebs for certain ranges/products. Well, Lancome is a prime example for me. Am less likely to want to check it out now than I was about a year ago 😛
If I don’t like the star, I’m less likely to look. As I get older, I tend to wonder, if an 18 year old is advertising this, am I too old to wear it?!
Paris B says
Right?! Its how I feel too!
I think I do agree with most of the comments today. I am affected by the stars who front these products, because I won’t buy them if I don’t like them. HAHAHA~
For me, this actually transcends to other products as well, even chips, well, non-local ones anyways. There’s this real popular potato chip brand that has Jay Chou’s face all over China/Taiwan/HK and I REFUSE to buy them whenever I’m traveling. Ugh.
Paris B says
LOL!! Jay Chou has his face on a bag of chips?! I actually don’t like the faces of celebs on my food LOL!
I actually don’t pay attention to the celebrity face of a brand much.
Sure, I notice them in the ads/posters, but they don’t persuade or deter me from a brand. I don’t follow the current celebrities.
I’m still in my 2O’s, but I check out products based on the brands and reviews.
Paris B says
I can’t recognise many celebs myself LOL! But when I do know who they are, it does bug me as my example shows. I guess I just feel that it jars 🙂
Now that I think about it, it does! I don’t like when celebrity endorse it because it rather spoil the whole effect of the product especially for skin care.* But I was poring at Dior Capture Totale Serum Ad featuring Sharon Stone to see her spots!I *
But I do like some ads like Vanessa Paradis for Chanel Rouge, Nicole Kidman for Chanel No 5 and Natalie Portman for Dior. I think that was perfect fit. It makes me aspire to want it. Maybe not now but definitely something that in my bucket list!
Paris B says
Haha I know! I look at Sharon Stone and I think “Hmm… she can’t still be 50 after so many years right?!” But I saw some videos and whilst she looks a bit older in them, her skin does still look good so I’m thinking “Maybe it works…” That said, the Capture Totale line is my fave from Dior because it seems to work well for me 😀 I agree with you too re: the celeb pairings you mentioned. Those were imageries that work – classic, elegant, fits the brand and gives us something to work towards 🙂
I shared the same sentiments when Emma Watson was chosen as the face of Lancome’s whitening serum as she never needed it to begin with. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this but I personally prefer the Rouge l’Absolu Lipstick packaging as I love how the lipstick clicks into place each time I’m done using it! (quite a sturdy and posh sounding click too I must say) Didn’t feel the same way with the Rouge in Love lippies. =(
Paris B says
I think I might have closed one eye, if not for that Blanc Expert campaign. Its all just too fake. And in Rouge in Love, Emma Watson looks so white. What gives?! 😛 I too love the Rouge l’absolu packaging! It feels heavy even though its just plastic. Rouge in love feels cheap 🙁
This may be a little off topic I really dislike brand that features a few celebrities in a short period of time.. To me, it made it so congested and make me lose interest in the brands, if not confusing the public enough.. I really like Emma Watson, she is the very few young celeb that is still clean, beautiful and stylish =) however I get confused when I see Kate winslet an Julia Roberts too featuring for lancome… I had a few friends who told me, Eh I thought it is Emma Watson for lancome? Then Emma is featuring which brand? Estee Lauder? This is a true story.
I think it is ideal for brand to stick to one ambassador, Laneige did a very good job in that. Save money too…perhaps then thy could give more sample or reduce the price a little.. Haha
Paris B says
Ahh you have a point! it might explain why Laneige products are cheaper LOL! But yes, I am a bit confused sometimes when there are too many faces for a brand. I guess they think older women will be able to identify with older celebs and so they choose accordingly. But I would prefer they just cut the price and use models. Most of us aren’t sold on the celeb culture anyway! (well based on the intelligent responses here LOL!)
Omg I did a double take when I saw this post ’cause I just wrote a draft about this topic the other day, haha! I guess you’ll know my opinions in my post but for the most part, I suppose I’m in-between – I don’t rush out to buy anything because of a certain celebrity, but sometimes I do avoid certain things ’cause of a celebrity attached to it. Can;t stand some celebrities haha!
Paris B says
Ooh I’m a mind reader, Renee! 😉 Will love to hear your thoughts on this 🙂 I don’t really have much feelings either way for celebs (I can’t recognise half of them!) so I’m less inclined to want to buy because they endorse it but I guess I am repelled if they are someone I can’t identify with – like Lady Gaga. Sorry 😛
Sze Ling says
Celebrity endorsement or not, the person gracing their ads doesn’t affect whether I buy a certain brand/product. I’d usually just look at the ad, and go “oo…that’s pretty” and that’s it! I don’t linger on it.
I do have to agree with a couple of people here. Emma Watson is a bit too young for a Lancôme ad. Don’t get me wrong. I love her and her acting career. But she’s just too young for Lancôme. How many 22 years old can afford Lancôme? Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned. LOL. 😛
Paris B says
I know! That’s my thought exactly. Just who are they targetting by using Emma Watson? Maybe for makeup but for skincare?! Or maybe its this that’s coloured my perception of the Rouge in Love lipsticks. Nice but not wonderful.
I’d rather see a nameless but gorgeous looking model fronting the ad as that is more likely to pique my interest in the product. To date, I’ve never been once influenced to buy any beauty product because of the celebrity endorsement. Like many of the others above, I’m likely to avoid the product if I don’t particularly like the celebrity. 😛 So I guess celebrity endorsement doesn’t really do much for me as a consumer.
Paris B says
I’m with you. I’d rather just see a model used as a face. Especially if she has a timeless sort of face 🙂
no, the brand face doesn’t really affect me!!! if I like a product, I would go ahead and try it out anyway.
Paris B says
Would you be affected if its e.g. a celebrity you don’t care much for?
nah…I don’t really pay much attention to the ads in that sense but yes, sometimes I do get lured by colors and the ad itself instead of the celebrity face. but, probably yes, if its not a celebrity I care much for, I might not really pay attention to the product!!
Yes, I more or less will be affected. One thing for sure, I wouldn’t try Lancome if not for Emma Watson. I love her, like you, from the Harry Potter ages. And it really helps that she’s an Ivy League student! Outrageously smart for an actress, which is just my taste. Love smart women.
I love the consistency of Rouge in Love! Bought one, and really want to buy another. It’s just that wee bit more lipstick-y than Addict Extreme and Coco Shine, and just great. How in the world did Lancome invent it?
haha, and so I got my first Lancome, ever.
Then again, there is the flip side of the story… … Silkygirl products in Singapore are fronted by a local actress called Felicia Chin, and I dislike her personality since her debut. She is another smart girl in the Singapore education system. But somehow I just am not fond of her. I refuse to buy whatever Silkygirl is advertising about… LOL! I am okay with the other products and own quite a lot of Silkygirl in fact (from way before Felicia Chin’s face went on), but I just wouldn’t buy the NEW mascara or lip glosses because the ads appear on TV. And like what you think of Julia Roberts, I think the same of Felicia Chin. She’s slightly older than me now! How can she possibly be using Silkygirl products when I myself find the quality mostly substandard for the price??? Silkygirl is really not cheap at all, so close to L’oreal/Revlon/Maybelline… … The products are for a market more than 10 years younger than Felicia Chin… they should get a teen actress to front the ads.
But overall, I think the feel of the entire ad campaign still makes a greater difference. Vanessa Paradis is 40 this year, and she fronted the ad for Rouge Coco 2 years ago, even though Rouge Coco was targeted at women at least 10 years younger than Paradis herself. But so what? I thought the campaign was good, and I saved up for the Rouge Coco. Paradis doesn’t even has a full lips to begin with, but the director thought her lips will still be the perfect one for Chanel.
Nevertheless, I do ask questions of Emma Watson being pasted on the Blanc Expert ad too. Skincare is much different from makeup. And for skincare, I think SKII is doing a great job. SKII really went all out to get actresses in their 20s, all the way to 40s and 50s, just to prove that it’s effective for every woman. BUT, here is where my point comes in… … it’s the entire feel of the campaign, and till now, I am not convinced or tempted by SKII at all. I’d rather find another brand that also makes anti-aging products.
Paris B says
Over here I think they use some young local actresses for Silkygirl (not that I know who they are LOL!) but I will have to agree that its true both ways I guess – an older actress fronting a young brand and a young actress fronting an older brand, both jar to our senses and can be off putting if we can’t relate to them. I guess its good for Lancome to know that their choice of celebrity did help their image 😀 I think she’s a lovely young lady, and yes Rouge in Love is made for her but I think the one that got to me is Blanc Expert. And the fact that I’m much older than Emma Watson and thus she will jar a little for me when making my choice of what to buy 🙂