In this week’s Campaign it was revealed that Adidas’ ‘Yeezy’ collaboration with Kanye West has not paid off. The brand is still suffering a decline in profits and Yeezy himself is doing nothing to help the situation.
So was Kanye worth the reported $10m Adidas paid him? Are celebrities ever worth that much for a brand?
Over the years there have been great campaigns which have utilised a celebrity’s persona, style or following. Look no further than our own Walkers campaigns with Gary Lineker for a partnership that works hard and grows results! So what makes a celebrity collaboration A-List and what relegates it to the Z-List?
Dani and I have scoured campaigns old and new to pick our Oscar Worthy versus Straight-to-DVD Celebrity campaigns.
Artist Miranda July and fashion house Miu Miu is one of the most meaningful collaborations I’ve seen – and it’s not just an abiding love for July that makes me say this. Alongside a series of videos, they created ‘Somebody’, an app that enables strangers to deliver messages verbally. While this is a great idea in itself, what’s more impressive is the distinct lack of branding on Miu Miu’s part, except for providing the wardrobe for the films. The artist’s vision remains completely uncompromised and Miu Miu come out looking confident and cool. Unfortunately the app is no longer running – success despite technical problems have resulted in people heralding it a ‘brilliant failure’ – but it still holds up as an example of how great things come from genuine and trusting partnerships.
On the flip side of the coin, the finance sector is rife with examples of forced and unbelievable celebrity endorsements. Take Iggy Pop and Swift Cover for example. It wasn’t just the idea of Iggy being a sell-out that angered people: the insurance firm’s policies didn’t even cover musicians. It was soon banned, but not before damaging both the brand and the talent’s reputation and integrity. Collaborations should work in favour of both parties, and I’m afraid this one completely missed the mark.
Rosie’s A-List – Balmain X H&M
This was the fastest selling H&M brand collaboration ever – even H&M admitted it far exceeded their expectations. I would argue this is because Oliver Roustang – the 30 year old photogenic Creative Director of Balmain – gets celebrity. He has 2.4million followers on his personal Instagram page, which is littered with heavily filtered selfies with his glitterati pals, Rihanna, the Kardashians and a host of supermodels.
So who did he call on to front his collaboration with H&M? A collaboration which would target millennials who lust over the #BalmainArmy long-legged look. He called models-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who between them have almost 50 million followers on Instagram. The #BalmainArmy was then sent into action. They wore the dresses to high profile events, months before they were due to be released. They teased the range on their own Instagram pages. They starred in print campaigns as well as content, which was released online before making its way to your TV screen. They utilised Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube. They knew who would appeal to their audience and the channels to reach them on. By the time the range went on sale, millennials around the globe were in a frenzy. There were queues round the block and the H&M website crashed. If you’re looking for an example of how to leverage celebrity to benefit your brand then look no further than Oliver Roustang – a fashion man rising to the top one selfie at a time.
Rosie’s Z-List – Jamie and Louise Redknapp & Thomas Cook
Who better than an attractive – yet approachable – couple, who both husband and wife can lust after to front a holiday campaign? Makes perfect sense right? Until you see this campaign. It’s cheesy, over the top and at points a little bit creepy. So how could they have made it better? This is when media could have really lent a hand. What if the Redknapps went on the holiday and documented it organically on their own social channels. When they returned creating an advertorial with a media owner where they talked in their own words about their holiday experience. We’ll never know how it could have been, for now just watch this ad as a reminder of what not to do.