It’s not easy to stand out in the crowded youth apparel market. Marketers are turning to celebrities to reach young fashionistas who want the latest in t-shirts and trendy accessories. This year, companies like Kmart will promote lines linked to Selena Gomez and JC Penney plans to launch a Nastia Liukin SuperGirl line.

Are there key components that a marketer should include when designing and launching celebrity-branded line to ensure success? As Dudley Blossom, representing LIM College, says, “[i]t usually takes a while for a brand to build a presence at retail, but celebrities speed that cycle up.”   Linking a celebrity to a successful brand launch  takes careful planning. Winning strategies include the following:

  • Use a limited-time promotion and branding cycle because the target audience moves quickly from one celebrity to the next.
  • The apparel line and the celebrity used in the branding campaign should be age appropriate to the target audience. In addition, experts recommend that the celebrity be photographed wearing the apparel to increase ‘authenticity’.
  • Apparel marketers should also pay attention to gender differences when creating celebrity-branded products. Tween girls tend to identify with music or TV stars. These celebrities may have a short life cycle. On the other hand, many boys are likely to follow the career of popular sports figures – think Tony Hawk and Shaun White. As a result, the branded product will have a longer life cycle and also appeal to a wide range of consumers.

A celebrity-branded product can boost sales for marketers and this is especially true for the media-conscious youth demographic. Establishing the parameters of the campaign upfront and maintaining realistic expectations regarding the life of the product are key to increasing revenue and maintaining profit margins.

[Source: Pop Star Branding: Authenticity, Timing Key In Launching Apparel Lines.  Entertainment Marketing Letter. EPMcom.com. May 2010]