The Magnetism of Celebrity Branding

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The Magnetism of Celebrity Branding

Designer Charles Frederick Worth is the one to blame when it comes to the flux of celebrities promoting brands. Worth understood the importance of linking fashion and commerce. He struck up a beneficial relationship with Princess Pauline von Metternich back in 1860. This celebrity connection contributed to the rise and status of La Maison Worth in Paris. La Maison Worth became the most influential couture house at its time.

Currently, pop stars and models are the go to celebrities to promote luxury brands – and may or may not reach commercial success. The latest in line is transgender model Andreja Pejic who teamed up with the beauty brand Make Up For Ever. Do these partnerships actually work?

The Magnetism of Celebrity Branding

Courtesy of: Make Up For Ever

Celebrities are the product of a number of cultural and economic processes, see digital technology, (social) media, radical individualism, money and online gossip. Our 24-hour internet access ensures that celebrities are far more accessible than they’ve ever been before. We, the public, are enthralled with the lives of celebrities, this is inherent to celebrity culture. Back in 1956, the social scientists Horton & Wohl introduced the term para-social interaction. This comes down to the illusion of intimacy with celebrities at a distance. The para social relationship is one-sided..

Social media brings celebrities and their fans- a.k.a consumers – closer together. Celebrities and brands cultivate parasocial relationships to resemble face-to-face relationships. After all, fandom and consumerism go hand in hand. These interactions also bring the consumers closer to the brands that are tied to the celebrity. As Janice Miller states ”Fashion can thus be understood as a place where individuals might exert their fan identities and creativity through their bodies: a public declaration of their fan identity.” So, nobody bats an eyelid when it comes to celebrity endorsements in fashion.


Giles Autumn-Winter 2015-16

Take model Cara Delevingne for example. From movie projects to a collab with Pharrell. The enfant terrible of the fashion industry even has designed a collection for DKNY and the Cara Delevingne Collection for Mulberry and is the face of YSL Beauté. Cara has 13.3 M+ followers on Instagram who watch her every move. Smart promotion, witty slogans, and a massive following. This should guarantee success, right?. As Vanessa Friedman points out, Cara’s previous endorsement with Mulberry didn’t lead to overnight success.

One can argue that these endorsements are not only for steady revenue for brands but a way to increase their visibility in an already oversaturated market. The internet allows a dialogue between the consumers and the brands. With Twitter, Vine and Instagram, we can get an inside peek into the private lives of celebrities and feel that the lifestyle is attainable. Trust and regular interaction on social media can create brand loyalty. This stimulates the likelihood of purchasing the products and generates a stronger consumer interest.

However, there’s criticism from within the industry. Roberto Cavalli spoke against the flood of celebrity endorsements, and fashion photographer Erik Madigan Heck was quite straightforward on the current flux of celebrity designers “Contemporary fashion is ‘no longer about the clothing itself, but about who is wearing it. Beauty is no longer understood in the details and craft of the object, but in the idea of celebrity.” Right.


Courtesy of: Make Up For Ever

Sure I get it. Celebrity endorsements sometimes feel like a fad. Celebrities with no discernible talent or knowledge about design get the chance to produce collections, while talented fashion students struggle to get by. But is there really a big change compared to the 1950s when the average consumer wanted to emulate the looks and glamor of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Grace Kelly and bought their products? Maybe, maybe not. The only difference is the more active consumption of the celebrity.

Celebrities and business are the perfect partnership, they both create dreams and illusions.

The Magnetism of Celebrity Branding


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Written by Giselle Dafares

Giselle is a freelance writer with a penchant for fashion (law) and pop culture. She enjoys googling random things, late night conversations, and can’t stray far from the impulse to write it all down

One thought on “The Magnetism of Celebrity Branding

  1. I agree with you Giselle, celebrities and business do tend to be the perfect partnership. The popular personality that has created a brand of themselves serves to leverage whatever additional product or service that they are endorsing. Perhaps now more than ever we see this to be true as most of us spend our days online with social media updates.

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