I’m very ill. I’ve got celebrity-itis. I’m sick and tired of celebrity beauty endorsements. It’s been grating on me for a while, but the turning point happened when I was literally turning the pages of my favourite weekly glossy. Advert after advert there stood a photoshopped celebrity pretending that they really loved what they were being paid to promote. In one magazine you had Cheryl Cole for L’Oreal (twice), Alexandra Burke for Sure, Rachel Stevens for Braun, Jessica Alba for Revlon, Lady Gaga for MAC, Lily Cole for Rimmel, Davina McCall for Garnier, The Saturdays for Impulse, Britney Spears perfume and even Katie Price thrown in for good measure. This is celebrity overload.
We all know we love celebrities – they sell papers and magazines, they fill our day with gossip, they even fill our tv screens with endless reality and fly-on-the-wall programmes (although this didn’t work out that well for some, ahem, Kerry Katona.) The celebrity world is big business and beauty brands in particular have been buying into it. Celebrity endorsements used to be a rarity and something that meant the brand meant business. Back in the day L’Oreal and Rimmel were about the only two brands offering up celebrities on a plate to the wider world, and we ate it up with a smile on our face and a new lipgloss in our pocket.
Do you remember back in the 1990’s when the world went Spice overload for the Spice Girls? You couldn’t walk anywhere without bumping into a Spicey packet of crisps, a Spicey fizzy drink, a Spicey lollipop? The girls were reported to have made £300m through endorsements alone – big, big business for the brands and the ladies themselves. (How did you think Posh funded her LBD’s?) However, this world now seems to be ever more accessible, with minor celebrities happy to slap their name on anything as long as they’re provided with a shiny cheque. As long as the price is right you can convince the public that your product is really better than everyone else’s because so-and-so says they like it.
My personal opinion is that it just doesn’t mean anything anymore. Do we truly believe that these ‘celebs’ are really using these products? Are you telling me when they’re earning millions they’re really trotting down to their local Boots and buying themselves a £8 mascara? (Not that they’d actually buy it anyway, inevitably they get a lifetime supply for free.)
Brands use celebrities to cut through the thousands of voices and images we see every day in magazines, on billboards, on television and online. By associating yourself with a celebrity you’re transferring their desireable attributes onto your product – for example, Cheryl Cole has nice hair so if she uses L’Oreal shampoo that must give me lovely hair too. Historically it’s worked, but now us ‘ladies what use stuff’ are demanding more. We don’t just want to believe what The Saturdays are telling us, we want to know what the product does, how it does it and what it will achieve – the ‘science’ bit if you will. Would brands be better off investing in technology, in explaining, in knowledge? We’re clever, us ladies. We will no longer just accept this and celebrity endorsements will start becoming less and less effective.
I really admire brands who rely on their products to do the talking. Most of my favourite brands (Lush, Bourjois, Paul Mitchell, John Frieda, Benefit…) have never relied on a celebrity and I would eat my own face mask if they started to any time soon. In my book celebrities = laziness. Come on peeps, get with it!