Oscar Night. The media impact value (MIV) generated in the first week after the event stood at $658.6 million, 63% coming from online placements, 47% from social media. On top was Lady Gaga wearing Tiffany & Co. for a total MIV of $4.9 million and $1.4 million from social sharing. The American brand was followed by the Parisian Cartier worn by Deepika Padukone with a MIV of $1.3 million, and Moussaieff, chosen by Rihanna, reached a MIV of $673,000, while Bulgari with Sofia Carson arrived at $802,000. These are just some of the numbers reported by Launchmetrics on the value that the big-name jewelry worn by international stars and shared online and on social networks generated. But how does the celebrity business work, can we really speak of ROI, or rather, red carpet Return On Investment? Besides the media value generated, can the jewelry worn by a star, that then goes viral online and on social media, really translate into a sale? «In general, “placement” can potentially lead to sales, even if they are not immediate, » explains Francesca Simons, Founder of American agency, Francesca Simons Consulting. «Many factors come into play when it comes to red carpets and jewelry: the talent and notoriety of the wearer, the event, the price point, the outfit. Fine jewellery placement on the red carpet does not guarantee sales, but the perspective with which this type of placement is approached is more related to building brand awareness, the quality of visibility and creating a celebrity fan base for the brand. It has often happened, for example, that the pieces worn were then bought directly by the person who had chosen them for the event,” Simons adds, a point reiterated by Ginnina D'Orazio, a long-standing American PR professional, owner of the eponymous agency and pioneer of this business since 2003. «I officially opened the jewelry showroom in 2006 because there was no “place” exclusively dedicated to jewelry,» D'Orazio says. «I began to collaborate with stylists thanks to my photographer friends who told me to take jewelry onto the set. At the time, I worked with Pasquale Bruni and Damiani. I started off by doing editorials while now I only do red carpets, but it all came naturally. I believe that all brands can get onto the red carpet, the price of the jewelry is of no importance. These days, it's more a question of style and what the stylist is looking for. Of course, you can work in this world without an agency, but to achieve brand recognition on an international level, placing a Jennifer Lopez or Rihanna means everything. A perfect example is Mikimoto. Chosen by Lopez for her wedding to Ben Affleck, the Japanese brand is now back in the limelight after a period in which it had lost visibility. But what is most important is the “follow through” I do on a jewelry collection before showing it to the customer. I check everything, even before they physically send me the pieces, I choose them based on what works best for me and then I prepare them to present to the client, with the brand name, so that the stylist can make the choice based on the outfit. Then of course, we also create bespoke pieces or special capsules,» she concludes. But what occasion and event currently “convert” the most and generate the most shares? According to Francesca Simons, «there are no events that are more or less engaging than others. Every season is full of occasions, shows, awards, each with incredible visibility. Some are televised and this helps, but we always also believe in social media for these events, especially when jewelry is involved, because that is where the mention of a brand with the tag acquires enormous value.
«I BELIEVE THAT ALL BRANDS CAN GET ONTO THE RED CARPET, THE PRICE OF THE JEWELRY IS OF NO IMPORTANCE. THESE DAYS, IT'S MORE A QUESTION OF STYLE AND WHAT THE STYLIST IS LOOKING FOR. OF COURSE, YOU CAN WORK IN THIS WORLD WITHOUT AN AGENCY, BUT TO ACHIEVE BRAND RECOGNITION ON AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, PLACING A JENNIFER LOPEZ OR RIHANNA MEANS EVERYTHING» - GINNINA D'ORAZIO, D'ORAZIO & ASSOCIATES
Thinking about the big events, the Oscars and the Golden Globes are both for the big brands while the independents practically disappear. However, The Met Gala is still the red carpet par excellence because the stars have to follow a theme, the guest list is strategic and glamor reaches a much higher level.» Ginnina D'Orazio is of the same opinion: «The Met Gala is the most interesting for jewelry placement because it puts fashion and jewelry together and has much more global visibility and press reach, as does the Vanity Fair party. Coming back to sales, I want to specify that adopting the influencer strategy is not always the best idea because it depends greatly on who you choose. Consumer influencers are not global. An influencer in L.A., for example, is not known in the Middle East, so, if you want to sell there, you have to choose a local. Whereas you can never go wrong with a celebrity because they are famous everywhere.» And if parading on a red carpet may not seem so simple and straightforward, there are other “stages” that can guarantee visibility and a substantial return on image and revenue, such as TV series. «I didn't pay anything, I didn't invest any money, I simply found myself in the right place, at the right time, for the right character, namely Lily Collins in Emily in Paris,» says Ukrainian designer Yana Nesper, who specializes in pearl jewelry. «All credit to French costume designer Marylin Fitoussi, who chose my jewelry and had Emily wear it in no less than seven scenes! Definitely a great boost for the brand, which in the US has also translated into real sales.» A true guru of TV series, Amedeo Scognamiglio is also rather a pioneer in this business since the success of both his brands, Faraone Mennella and Amedeo, is due to the first series of Sex and the City. «We would never have been successful without that fortuitous meeting with Patricia Field between 2001 and 2002,» says Amedeo. «From that moment on, our jewelry became as “iconic” as Manolo Blahnik shoes. In fact, our success began when our jewelry first appeared on Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City because all the world’s leading stores wanted that collection. That product placement (which happened almost by chance, almost unintentionally, without PR or marketing gurus) was enough to propel a fledgling brand into the Olympus of American luxury.
«OUR SUCCESS BEGAN WHEN OUR JEWELRY FIRST APPEARED ON SARAH JESSICA PARKER AND KIM CATTRALL IN SEX AND THE CITY. THAT TOTALLY COINCIDENTAL PRODUCT PLACEMENT, WITHOUT GURUS OR PR, WAS ENOUGH TO PROPEL A FLEDGLING BRAND INTO THE OLYMPUS OF AMERICAN LUXURY» - AMEDEO SCOGNAMIGLIO, FOUNDER OF FARAONE MENNELLA AND AMEDEO
However, there is a difference between lending an actress jewelry that has already been made and creating new jewelry at the request of the production. I remember, for example, long meetings with Patricia in the showroom in New York to create earrings that had already been presented in the screenplay, from which our “Samantha Hoops” were born. On another occasion, for the film “It's Complicated” with Meryl Streep, stylist and costume designer Amanda Ross asked me to create 3 identical necklaces to meet various script requirements for the leading lady... Or the talisman necklace created for Spike Lee at the Oscars three years ago, inspired by his friend Prince, who later bought it...,» Amedeo adds. For Francesca Simons, the placement of a piece of jewelry in a TV series or film involves something much less emotional, as she explains. «In terms of ROI, we have never seen placements of this type turn into direct sales. But for us, the photos produced for newsletters, social media content, trend pitches and brand awareness are important. All the assets we obtain, help our retailers promote one style over another, which ultimately translates into sales. It's all about the quality of the photo. The better the resolution, the better the jewel is defined and the surer the ROI,» she concludes. Scognamiglio adds: «Nowadays, unfortunately, I don't think what happened to us in the beginning, and which actually made us famous, can happen with the same excitement anymore. The big luxury Groups pay figures of up to five zeros for a product placement, which has made it almost impossible for emerging brands to have the same opportunities we had. This also limits the creativity of a stylist, who, instead of being free to choose what he or she considers most in line with the screenplay, now only has to select what the client pays for to be worn.» An extremely delicate topic that Ginnina D'Orazio reiterates with a new and enormously synergetic project involving stylists and clients. «We are creating a capsule of 12 pieces in partnership with brands and stylists. A design and revenue- share project in which skills are combined, the client does not pay and any profit is then divided fairly,» Ginnina concludes.
«IN TERMS OF ROI, WE HAVE NEVER SEEN PLACEMENTS OF THIS TYPE TURN INTO DIRECT SALES. BUT FOR US, THE PHOTOS PRODUCED FOR NEWSLETTERS, SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT, TREND PITCHES AND BRAND AWARENESS ARE IMPORTANT. ALL THE ASSETS WE OBTAIN, HELP OUR RETAILERS PROMOTE ONE STYLE OVER ANOTHER, WHICH ULTIMATELY TRANSLATES INTO SALES» - FRANCESCA SIMONS, FRANCESCA SIMONS CONSULTING