Women's Wear Daily


Study: Oscar Win Lifts Brand Paydays 

Evan Clark | Women's Wear Daily

An Academy Award win not only gives actors a major career boost, the gold statuette also makes them much more persuasive and valuable brand ambassadors. While that has always been suspected, a new study from celebrity branding expert Jeetendr Sehdev quantifies just what an Oscar can bring to a brand. And it’s a lot.

Sehdev found that having an ambassador who took home the award for best actor, best actress or one of the supporting roles boosts a brand’s annual sales by 1.5 percent on average.

The study suggests that Lupita Nyong’o’s win for best supporting actress in “12 Years a Slave” brought in an additional $63 million in sales for Lancôme over the past year, while Giorgio Armani saw a $37 million boost from Cate Blanchett’s best actress nod for “BlueJasmine.”

“It’s a remarkable payoff,” said Sehdev, a marketing professor at the University of Southern California who keeps close watch on consumer opinion.

With all those sales dollars up for grabs, Dior executives on Sunday will have their fingers crossed just as much as Marion Cotillard, who’s up for an award for her role in “Two Days, One Night.” And Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry will be pulling all the more for Felicity Jones, nominated for her performance in “The Theory of Everything.”

Once the parties die down on Monday, reps for the actors might be looking to renegotiate their brand deals.

“Talent agencies, [chief marketing officers] have really been working in the pitch black,” Sehdev said. “Now at least they have a guide on their negotiations.”

To make this connection between award and cash register, Sehdev used what’s known as an intervention model, which takes into account the impact of advertising by the brand and its competitors, any price promotions by the brand or in the market, and the intensity of those promotions. Data from Nielsen was used to calculate weekly sales, price promotions and monthly advertising expenditures.

The financial impact of Oscar’s coattails is a tribute to the brand built around the award itself.

“An Oscar has an enormous symbolic value,” Sehdev said. “There is so much credibility and trust that has been building in the Oscar brand over the years. It is the ultimate for an actor and I think people recognize that it embodies the ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality of Hollywood.”

He said that Oscar winners are seen as 62 percent more admired, 40 percent less disliked, 25 percent cooler and 37 percent more trusted than non-Oscar winners.

Not all Oscar winners were created equal, though. 

Sehdev said brands that hire megastars who win Oscars see a bigger gain in sales than those that link up with a newcomer who happens to strike it big with the Academy.

But the effect is fleeting. Sehdev said the boost from a brand ambassador’s Oscar halo lasts for 12 to 14 months and has decreasing returns.

Jeetendr's study appeared as an exclusive in Women's Wear Daily. View the original article here 


Dare to Compare: Michelle Obama vs. The Duchess of Cambridge

Evan Clark | Women's Wear Daily

Fashion might be wrong on Kate Middleton — and underestimating Michelle Obama.

A new study of the attitudes of women in the U.S. and U.K. not only calls into question validity of the “Kate Middleton Effect,” but found the Duchess of Cambridge has the same fashion influence as reality star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Kate Beckinsale and Paris Hilton.

Women are instead gravitating to figures they see as more independent, such as America’s First Lady, who is seen as 11 times more influential in style, according to the study by Jeetendr Sehdev, a celebrity branding expert and University of Southern California marketing professor. Women also cited Taylor Swift and Sienna Miller as style influencers.

Sehdev isn’t buying the theory that Middleton’s fashion choices drive shoppers to stores en masse — although some estimate the Kate Effect at 1 billion pounds, or $1.6 billion, worth of economic activity. Based on his reading of her influence, Sehdev said her impact would be closer to just a fifth of that, or 200 million pounds.

“Her influence is not what it’s being made to be and, in the eyes of the modern woman in both the U.S. and the U.K., she’s not heralded in that way,” Sehdev said.

“Does she even deserve the title of style icon? The answer is no, because she doesn’t measure on the criteria of the style icon,” Sehdev said.

Everyone might have their own definition of style icon, but Sehdev’s take is drawn from his research with 3,500 women in the U.S. and 1,500 in the U.K. and covers five key attributes:

• A definitive sense of style.

• A sense of confidence.

• A certain timelessness that can keep modern.

• A fierce independence.

• A dose of provocativeness.

Middleton has that certain timelessness, according to 68 percent of the women surveyed, but falls short in the other areas.

Obama, for instance, is considered to be five times more daring in her fashion sense than Middleton and 75 percent of the women surveyed admired the First Lady for her sartorial risk-taking.

That’s not to say Middleton is unpopular.

The survey showed women found her to be very likable, but also very safe and less independent than Obama and others. Sixty-seven percent of the women surveyed did not think Middleton chooses her own outfits.

“It seems like she’s kind of being dressed or is dressing for a nation,” Sehdev said, summing up the sentiment of the women surveyed (she is, of course, truly dressing for a nation, since Middleton one day will be Queen Catherine).

Middleton’s look is also moving from High Street to high end, which will make her style resonate less with the masses, he said.

Her 2011 wedding to the future King of England, Prince William, was a supercharged, global event that brought the majesty of any big royal event to the Twitterverse. But even then, on Middleton’s big day, she managed to slip out of the fashion spotlight, which shifted quickly to her sister Pippa’s form-fitting dress.

With her dream wedding, Middleton might look as if she’s in the midst of a fairy tale, but Sehdev said she’s being positioned very specifically within the fashion superstructure. The study grew out of a trip he took to the U.K., where Middleton “was literally on every single magazine cover at the terminal at the airport. It became very clear to me that it was a very deliberate p.r. positioning.”

When it comes to transmitting style influence, it’s not just about the look, but how it’s worn and how it fits into at least the perception of one’s personality.

“Style icons today have to be enormously sexy and they have to have a great sense of style and fashion and flair and individuality and they also have to be dressing for themselves and not others,” Sehdev said.

Obama fits the bill, according to the survey.

“First and foremost, she seems to be dressing for herself,” Sehdev said. “She’s seen taking far more risks. She seems to have a much stronger sense of independence. She’s nobody’s right hand, she’s a person unto herself and that really scores highly when it comes to how that translates to fashion.”

Obama also has more of a multicultural appeal, with the study showing she has 13 times more fashion influence over black, Latino and Asian women than Middleton.

In short, Obama is more of the complete fashion package.

“Michelle is a lot older [than Middleton] and yet these sorts of characteristics are resonating more with today’s woman,” he said. “It’s not about being the perfect princess anymore.”

Jeetendr's style icon study appeared as an exclusive in Women's Wear Daily. View the original article here