We all know that celebrity affiliation with brands can increase exposure, legitimacy, and that “cool” factor (not to mention making us look pretty cool in front of our clients!). While fashion and accessory brands is often about working with celeb fashion stylists, the route to a beauty product placement entails working with a celebrity “glam squad.” Many of today’s successful glam squads have huge social media followings individually; these beauty artists are becoming celebs in their own right. Working directly with the make-up artist or hairstylist for a celebrity is an effective way to get products in the hands (or on the faces or in the hair!) of A-list talent.
My agency has worked with countless celebrity beauty artists over the years, from makeup artists to manicurists. As a result, our clients’ products have been used on the faces of celebs like Kim Kardashian, January Jones, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Hyland, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Chrissy Teigen, and more.
Here’s how you can also leverage celebrity beauty experts to secure a coveted A-list beauty placement.
Determine if there is any budget before doing outreach
Very few things in Hollywood come free, and paying beauty experts to use particular products on their celeb clientele is de rigour. The easiest way to ensure specific products are used on a particular celebrity (and sometimes at a certain event – like a high-profile award show), you’re looking at a sponsorship.
How celebrity beauty artist sponsorships work
You’ll need to work through an agent and negotiating a rate and terms for the artist using your products on their celeb clients. Bigger artist agencies include Starworks, The Wall Group, Cloutier Remix, and Tracey Mattingly. Pricing ranges from $500 for a small nail sponsorship to $10,000 for a larger hair stylist sponsorship. Events can affect budget (a small film premiere will be less than the Oscars) and of course, the influence and fame of the star herself; the bigger the star, the higher the cost!
Once you’re in the negotiation phase, try and add in a few tagged social media posts on behalf of the stylist, and photography sent to you to be used on brand channels. It’s smart to ensure that you are able to use the placement in editorial PR outreach; include a few quick interview questions for the beauty artist to answer in order to develop expert quotes for pitching.
Finally, understand (and communicate to your client) that many celebrities and glam squads are under contracts with bigger cosmetics companies so they cannot accept sponsorships from other brands.
Select Your Talent/Opportunities Carefully
Not all celebrities are right for every brand, and not all celebrity placements are going to have the kind of massive affect your client is hoping for. Just like pitching is all about cultivating a custom media list for every client and opportunity, your role is to cull and select celebrities that make sense, and not simply celebrity for the sake of celebrity. If you are working with a fun, young makeup brand that caters to millennials, it’s probably best to stick with a fresh talent. If you have a luxury haircare line that has anti-aging properties, steer away from the latest Disney crew! In particular, when money is changing hands, hold out for the right event tie-in. If you are offered a sponsorship for an event that is likely to go uncovered in the press, or that doesn’t have a ton of photo opportunities, you won’t be able to extend that placement very far in terms of social story-telling and media coverage.
Include a few quick interview questions for the beauty artist to answer in order to develop expert quotes for pitching.
Consider PR Seeding Strategies
Not all brands (especially those starting out) have a budget to sponsor celeb beauty experts. You can still develop a celebrity outreach strategy – you just have to focus more on seeding product to the artists. To find out who the top artists are and who they work with, look at who your target celebs tags in their social media posts, they will often have their “glam squad.” Talent agency websites will often have a list of who they represent as well. If you can’t find an email for the stylist, send an email to their agent offering to gift product to the artist – they’ll often put you in touch directly.
Increase your chances of an unpaid glam squad placement
With social media, it’s easier than ever to see what types of products top beauty experts are into. For example, many makeup artists, manicurists, and hair stylists are leaning more towards natural products. If you have a great eco-friendly makeup or skincare line, reach out to them and let them know what makes that line unique. You might notice that a certain makeup artist is obsessed with all different types of highlighter – if your brand makes a great one, reach out to them with info and offer to send samples for their kit.
Gift Strategically During Certain Times of the Year
In addition to doing research to anticipate what products a beauty artist will love, send artists specific products to have in their kits for certain times of the year – awards show season, NYFW, Coachella, Sundance etc. While most beauty experts will be sponsored for these bigger events, if you have a great product you can still increase the chances that it will be used on a celeb by sending to their artists during these busy times.
Working with a celebrity glam squad requires knowing how the industry works, and being flexible on budget. Whether you’re able to go straight to the top with an exclusive partnership or sending out samples in the hope they will be used, it’s important to think about not only the placement itself but how to maximize that value for your brand through social media and editorial opportunities.