Aug 8, 2011

Jumping Off: The Failing Celebrity Brand Wagon Now Includes Demi Moore and Ann Taylor

I recently conducted an online survey about celebrity, image and the Supermodel Body.  

I was surprised to find out 71% of survey takers do NOT want to look like the actresses' images we see on billboards and a whopping 52% do NOT want to look like today's supermodel.  And here's the real kicker… 95% of the survey takers do NOT relate to celebrities.  

These numbers tell me something about the current celebrity culture.  Brands need to stop using celebrities to sell products.  They are no longer relatable nor are they aspirational. 

Ann Taylor is the latest to pick up a celebrity spokesperson for the brand.  


“We are thrilled to have Demi Moore as our newest face of Ann Taylor,” said Christine Beauchamp, Brand President of the Ann Taylor division of ANN INC. “Demi is a true inspiration for modern women today, managing to balance her demanding career and her family life, while doing so much to create positive change and give back. She is a wonderful role model, living an incredibly full, multi-faceted life with poise, passion, and remarkable style.”

Ann Taylor may be thrilled but the public isn't.  The commenters on many blogs and news feeds are more focused on her narrow hips, stretched out legs and photoshopped face.  I don't see anyone commenting on Demi's brand as multifaceted do-gooder nor are they relating to her "every woman" image.  We know too much to believe that she is anything like the rest of us.  

Using a celebrity used to be a successful advertising ploy to get people talking about and purchasing a brand's products.  I think we're at the tail end of the celebrity trend in advertising.  The consumers are smarter than the advertisers want to give credit for.  

Audiences no longer see celebrities as people with real lives, raising families, working hard and doing what good they can.  What they see are over-privileged caricatures that aren't held to the same standards of living that the rest of us are.  We see reality show stars who put their names on anything that will give them press coverage. And these brands keep pummeling its consumers with more and more celebrity megaphones as if screaming the message any louder is going to make us excited about their products.  We get it!  You have a famous actress representing you!  Who cares?   We don't actually want to be these celebrities, we just want them around to privately judge and ogle at so we can feel a little bit better about being taken advantage of by Wall Street, the Bush administration and the obscene portion sizes served in restaurants.  You would think that the advertising teams behind their conference tables would have realized by now that social media has taken over and we don't need Katie Holmes or Jessica Simpson or Demi Moore to guide us through the world.  

I happen to love Ann Taylor and I do think it's time for the company to reinvent it's brand to gain sustainable traction with women. Ann Taylor still has credibility in the image bank to lean on but shaking collaborative hands with Demi is not going to be enough to open those doors.  And I like Demi. I respect her. I spent time with her a few years back and found her to be everything she attempts to represent; hard working, a great mother, gorgeous, generous, intelligent.  The problem is her brand has been so diluted in the celebrity craze the past decade that we no longer can see who she is beneath the gossip and the photoshop.  We no longer hear her voice. 

What people want, what they need is a connection and a relationship.  People are only interested in supporting a story that tells the truth.  A brand must cultivate an honest relationship with their audience.  Respect them.  Listen to them.  They will guide you.  They will help create with you.  

It's really simple. We want a product that works and an outfit that makes us feel electric! We no longer care about how thin or glamorous or aspirational a famous face is. We want a way to tell our own stories.  Give us that and we'll storm your doors down.  Give is an opportunity to speak and we'll lead any brand to a real discussion about women, life and fashion; not to mention sales.    

Jump off the failing celebrity brand wagon and give us a new idea! 

No comments:

Post a Comment