February 28, 2014
For apparel, accessories and jewelry brands, the 86th Academy Awards this Sunday allows them a platform for both product placement and celebrity endorsements.
Dressing stars for red carpet appearances allows brands to spread awareness, as viewers at home hear the actors list what they are wearing. It is up to the brands to then take the images and publicity and leverage it in the best way.
"On the night when all eyes are on the Oscars red carpet, being part of that show carries tremendous marketing value for brands," said Yuli Ziv, founder/CEO of Style Coalition, New York.
"They become part of the prime time show that features some of the biggest Hollywood stars," she said. "It is a validation of their own A-list status, and we can see that in the competitiveness they showcase trying to become part of the awards red carpet.
Throughout the year, some fashion and jewelry brands keep up a steady stream of social media posts dedicated to who wore their gown or gem on the red carpet.
Lebanese couture house Elie Saab dresses many starlets for red carpet events, and posts sightings from awards shows and movie premieres.
Similarly, French fashion brand Givenchy shares its dressed from all manner of events.
Many brands post the images without too much content. However, French fashion house Lanvin exclaims its adoration for each star it features wearing the brand, with each post beginning with “Lanvin loves.”
Facebook post from Lanvin
Dior crafted articles for its online magazine, Dior Mag, around both Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence, who wore gowns by the label to award shows at which their projects won.
Dior mag article
Harry Winston is a red carpet staple, and creates photo sets throughout the awards season highlighting stars that wore its pieces.
Bulgari also creates one post with a number of stars photographed wearing its pieces.
Facebook post from Bulgari
Right before the Oscars, a number of brands created retrospective social media posts about their red carpet moments of yore.
Gucci looked back at previous red carpets throughout this season and beyond, picking out what it considered the best of the best, which included Hilary Swank at the Academy Awards in 2011.
Some brands create a special place online for consumers to look at all of their red carpet appearances.
For instance, Dolce & Gabbana made an album on Facebook called “ Stars shining in Dolce & Gabbana,” which featured celebrities who wore the brand to the “most important” red carpet events in 2014.
Facebook album from Dolce & Gabbana
Jimmy Choo has a section of its Web site dedicated to celebrity sightings, which includes images and the name of the item worn. This page is shoppable, and consumers can click the name of the shoe or handbag to be taken to the product page.
Jimmy Choo Spotted
Stuart Weitzman also created an awards season-themed ecommerce option on its Web site, allowing consumers to customize a pair of its Nudist sandals, its most popular red carpet shoe (see story). Its social media posts closer to the Oscars have been red carpet heavy, including on that asked followers to vote on their favorite star ensemble.
Facebook post from Stuart Weitzman
These brands might think about going beyond the typical photo post.
"Giving their followers behind the scenes look or the story of their collaboration with a celebrity might get the followers more engaged and foster a real connection," Ms. Ziv said. "Many fashion obsessed fans would love to know what it takes to dress a celebrity or why a certain actress chose a certain gown.
"In our celebrity obsessed world people love feeling a personal connection with their Hollywood stars. Many of the luxury brands have that access and can let their fans into their exclusive world."
Traditional vs. social media
Brands can also look to print media to showcase their ties to the biggest awards show.
For instance, Giorgio Armani and Chanel were among the fashion advertisers that sought reader attention in the February issue of Condé Nast-owned W magazine’s annual Movie issue to show their connection to Hollywood.
The 174-page issue hit newsstands in the midst of the awards season and featured multiple covers to highlight the actors profiled within its pages. Brands likely looked to W’s Movie issue as a way to stand out during a time when readers are more in-tune with the fashions worn by award ceremony attendees (see story).
Brands benefit not just from their own social media postings, but also the conversations generated on social media by global consumers.
For example, Christian Dior and Prada were the top two brands being discussed on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo Feb. 24 after the 85th Annual Academy Awards in 2013, according to a new report by the Digital Luxury Group.
The research uncovered that there is growing interest in red carpet ceremonies and luxury products among digitally-connected consumers in China. The attention of Chinese consumers is something luxury brands are striving for as China becomes an increasingly important luxury market (see story).
Being a part of the red carpet scene at the Academy Awards allows brands to join in a conversation.
"Having an attendee at the Oscars allows brands to join one of the most engaging fashion conversations of the year," Ms. Ziv said.
"Digitally savvy brands utilize that moment across various social channels, participating in multiple conversations with their followers," she said. "Having a subject like Oscars, which so many people are passionate about, creates very engaging interactions with the followers.
"We've seen many times less known celebrities stealing the fashion thunder, so it's not all about high-profile. This is especially true in the social media age, when a celebrity that has built a significant social following might be more valuable by exposing the product or brand to their online followers."
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York