famous and beautiful.

For several decades, some stars have tried to leave their role as the muse of the brand in order to create their own range of cosmetics and perfumes. A phenomenon deciphered by Pascal Barragué, luxury and beauty expert and consultant, for the Club des Chroniqueurs.

Communication strategy.

whether celebrity marketing has long been a communication axis valued by certain brands (isn’t it George?), one sector has gradually established itself as a dominant strategy: the beauty market. Actresses and other celebrities have monopolized perfume and make-up ads for decades. However, in the late 2000s, a milestone was reached. The world fame of a handful of stars and the capital of their image – both sexy and cool – enabled them to make money from using their face and name.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. First, the explosion of fees paid by major cosmetics brands for a handful of A-listers to become global advertising muses. The alleged $4 million paid to Nicole Kidman in 2004 by Chanel was quickly surpassed by increasingly explosive deals: $5 million a year for Charlize Theron, $7 million for Brad Pitt, $12 million over three years for Robert Pattinson, 28 million dollars. for a three-year deal with Natalie Portman… But also through licensing agreements signed between these celebrities and major companies in the sector – such as Elizabeth Arden, Coty, Puig or Procter & Gamble – regarding the development of branded fragrances, for benefit of stars like Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and others, not forgetting Antonio Banderas, David Beckham or Justin Bieber. This second phenomenon was soon embellished with a specific term, famous perfume.

Famous perfume.

It is very difficult to determine the exact date of birth of this phenomenon. Some evoke the perfume bottle designed in the 1930s by Schiaparelli and inspired by the shapes of Mae West. We also talk about L’Interdit, created for Audrey Hepburn by Hubert de Givenchy. But it is White Diamonds, the fragrance launched in 1991 by Liz Taylor with Elizabeth Arden that is considered the first true celebrity fragrance of the modern era. It is then said that her gross would be more than a billion dollars and that the earnings attributed to the actress would be greater than all her cinema fees combined.

About ten years after the launch of White Diamonds, these “celebrity perfumes” have experienced significant growth. They increased sales for the entire category for the entire first decade of the century. In 2012, there were no less than 85 celebrity perfume launches.

©Elizabeth Taylor ©Elizabeth Arden

The reasons for this explosion are first and logically financial: we are talking about agreements that combine fees of about 3 to 5 million, with commissions from 5 to 10% on sales.

A dazzling success in the early 2000s.

This segment quickly represented a significant share of the market – 10 to 20% according to Euromonitor – and its performance outpaced that of the entire US sector. In 2011, for example, the launch of Justin Bieber’s “Someday” boosted the entire category by $3 million in sales in Macy’s in less than 3 weeks.

“Curious” by Britney Spears had reached 100 million circulations in 5 weeks. And in 2013, Beyoncé’s Heat franchise — at the time the best-selling celebrity fragrance — hit $400 million in sales.


How to explain such a tidal wave? Some of these perfumes have clearly benefited from celebrities already “TeenFactor”that is, the buying behavior of teenage “fans”, while other powerful and original ways of promotion have been imposed, such as Beyonce’s perfume samples on her tours, political tweets from Paris Hilton…

An unexpected twist.

However, the enthusiasm created by these perfumes quickly dissipated. In other words, incessant releases, chronic lack of loyalty/loyalty/repurchase leading to a saturated market… all this leads to a general loss of interest in these products.

Celebrity marketing replaced by influencer marketing.

On the other hand, the development of social networks has created new expectations for “transparency and honesty”: celebrity marketing has found itself replaced by influencer marketing. Star is no longer the only lever influencing choice and purchase. Macro-influencers – as in micro or even nano – are the new enabling grail improve product visibility and her image. They also play a key role in developing the right content to influence communities through many formats – unboxing, tutorial, “Get ready with me”, challenges, etc. – and especially creating commitment. By doing so, the influencer has an overall power of recommendation in favor of the brand – advocacy – which turns it into a privileged beauty marketing tool.

As a result, communication budgets have shifted rapidly and massively towards digital and impactful campaigns. Chiara Ferragni, Taylor Hill… here are the new names of those who should now post about your new product to make it a success!

Were they definitely Hollywood stars?

However, most A-listers quickly adapted to this “new situation” and turned their popularity into a community on major social networks. By doing this, they managed not to be replaced by influencers and become influencers… This enables them to transform their fan base into potential customers by offering them this time not perfumes, but make-up, or even more.

FENTY Beauty case

Fenty Beauty, the make-up brand launched in 2017 by Rihanna, is perhaps the most emblematic example of this “New Deal”. It is a hybrid model in which Rihanna owns a part (15%) of the brand and also receives royalties, as for a classic license. It is Rihanna herself who provides much of the promotion/communication.

But Fenty is also and above all a story of innovation, as the brand has based its success on a particularly wide range of foundations. Its FDT Pro Filt’R included 40 shades at first, then 50. By doing so, the brand was immediately the one to offer the widest choice of colors to its customers. All skin tones were able to find what they were looking for and Fenty became synonymous with inclusion and diversity. In 15 months of operation, the brand would have generated an estimated revenue of US$570 million according to the NYTimes.


This success story could not remain an isolated initiative. Celebrities quickly realized that new opportunities were available to them, such as the opportunity to play in more attractive categories (larger size, level of margins, higher number of purchases, etc.) such as make-up and grooming of the skin. and the possibility of creating companies that manage their brands, which, therefore, belong to them.

Therefore, recently we have noticed an increasing number of releases, including that of Haus Laboratories in 2019 (Lady Gaga’s brand) and she e Rare beauty in 2020 by Selena Gomez.

New fashion, new wave.

Very recently, the launch of “JLO Beauty”, a range with a catchy slogan (“Beauty has no expiration date”) and offers seven products – a cream, several serums, a make-up remover and so on. – around a common promise: brilliance.

We should also mention the launch last November the human raceunisex range by Pharell Williams, which combines “simplicity and science” and revisits Clinique’s famous three-step routine (“Basic 3 Time”: 3 steps, 3 minutes, twice a day) introducing a “Three-Minute Face “.

The range is “cruelty free” and vegan. The packaging includes mentions in Braille and offers an original recyclable refill system. It is this commitment to preserving the planet and its resources that makes this line so interesting. In general, these are the values ​​that celebrities will or will not inject into their brands which will allow the public to judge whether these brands “resemble” the stars – and the values ​​they proclaim – or whether it is just a windfall and commercial opportunism.

At the beginning of the year, we’re already announcing upcoming launches with Kanye West, Hailey Bieber and Ariana Grande… Chance to see very quickly if these stars will succeed in creating brands in their own image or if they’ll be content with a simple and profitable role of sandwich husband and wife. Anyway, this is what it will look like the long history between beauty and celebrity continues and a whole new chapter begins.

Featured Credit: ©Instagram JLO Beauty

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