(Mila Kunis – Gemfields paid the star $5mn to be the face of their emeralds)
Marketing, advertising and PR have long been the cornerstones of any successful brand but the inclusion of celebrity endorsement in particular has taken centre stage in recent years. Coloured gem giant Gemfields, for example, decided to spend over a third of their $15 million USD marketing budget on Mila Kunis in 2013 and again in 2014. Any effective marketing campaign seeks to promote brand awareness of its products, market and business. Celebrity endorsement certainly has its pitfalls, such as what to do if your celebrity behaves badly, but if used correctly it can transform the brand you represent. From the moment someone sees their idolised movie star, soap actor, sports hero or reality TV personality sporting a particular brand, they will want to buy into that. This is helped in no small measure by the fact that the media and social media circus that surrounds modern celebrities virtually guarantees items of jewellery they endorse will be seen far and wide around the globe and on multiple platforms and channels.
Examples of successful celebrity jewellery endorsement:
Tiffany & Co – At the Oscars in 2011 Anne Hathaway was rumoured to have been paid an astonishing $750,000 USD by Tiffany & Co to wear some of their pieces whilst announcing the awards. She was also allowed to keep the jewellery, said to worth six figures, after the show!
Tag Heuer – Tag have gone the whole nine ‘yards’ with celebrity endorsers, including: Tiger Woods; Brad Pitt; Jeff Gordon; Maria Sharapova; Juan Pablo Montoya; Kimi Raikkonen; Uma Thurman; Fernando Alonso; Lewis Hamilton and Shah Rukh Khan. The world renowned watch maker have employed stars of the stage, screen and sports worlds to endorse their products over many decades.
Gemfields – The ‘De Beers’ of coloured gems chose Mila Kunis to be their brand ambassador in 2013 and 2014 in a multimillion dollar deal. Kunis has also promoted Gemfields rubies and helped to significantly raise the profile of the coloured gem market around the globe.
Harry Winston – The first jewellery brand to dress celebrities in their pieces on the red carpet in 1943, Harry Winston recruited Hollywood star Halle Berry in 2007. Many other celebs choose to wear Harry Winston pieces of their own accord, providing a further lift to the brand.
Mont Blanc – The famous luxury brand brought in Nicolas Cage as their brand ambassador in 2006. Mont Blanc are also highly adept at product placement and have managed to get their branded goods into a number of Hollywood blockbusters.
Rolex – Despite the scandal in his personal life, Tiger Woods can still pull a crowd and Rolex have recently decided to use him as one of their brand ambassadors. The luxury watch maker stood by the star despite the fact that many other major brands, including AT&T, Accenture, Tag Heuer, Gatorade and Gillette, chose to drop him
Whether it is through a desire to share the same style as a celebrity or through shire admiration of that person, the publicity generated by the media and social media coverage of that individual can lead to significant coverage for a jewellery brand and entice new customers from a fan base. Perhaps the cleverest approach to celebrity endorsement entails the offering of free products to that person in return for enabling their likeness to be published in which they are wearing them. In this way the ends can be achieved without any significant cost to the jewellery brand, maximising the resulting profits. The best way of gaining access to a celebrity is through his or her jewellery stylist, those responsible for preening and grooming the star before they make their grand entrance. Jewellery stylists have a unique talent for making celebrities look their best by carefully arranging and displaying the jewellery they are adorned with.
(Jennifer Anniston at the awards: many hours work are put in by her stylist)
Every outing, whether it be an award ceremony, chat show or another black tie or white tie event, will require a carefully planned selection of jewellery to promote and sell the celebrity brand. In short, jewellery stylists use jewellery, combined with their skills, to make their celebrity clients look their very best. That elegant necklace may look as though it has been casually placed on a Hollywood star but you can be certain that it will have been carefully choreographed by a highly specialised jewellery stylist in great detail well before the event. To achieve the best possible results, jewellery stylists need a constant open channel to original, stylish and desirable jewellery collections and designs. Uniqueness is key to a successful celebrity jewellery strategy so for that reason pieces from the high street are unlikely to attract the right sort of attention from media and social media channels.
(Angelina Jolie with Bulgari emerald earrings and an emerald pendant at a red carpet event in 2012)
With the right celebrity endorsement, a brand can be catapulted into orbit it terms of its recognition and sales. The power of celebrity to elevate almost any piece jewellery is well documented and is plain to see when one watches any red carpet event and observes the world’s most famous actors and actresses adorned with a vibrant collection of some of the most desirable jewels on the planet. While it is true that some brands have had their fingers burned when they have made the wrong choice of celebrity, the overwhelming experience has been positive for the gem, jewellery and broader luxury industry as a whole. In the age of social media and reality TV some celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, have made a career out of celebrity endorsement. More recently they have gone a stage further by actually celebrity endorsing their own brands and products in an interesting new twist to this fascinating arena.
(David Beckham advertising a Breitling – celeb endorsement of watches has proved very successful)