Let's make up. Charlotte Tilbury, publicity and much ado about nothing.
Today I joined a live writer’s presentation about half way through. I missed the topic and person that were the highlights of the online call and afterwards, ended up replaying the entire thing from scratch until I found out who it was that had said something stupid/controversial on social media and about what.
The theme of the day turned out to be Charlotte Tilbury. A new name to me but then I am hardly her ideal consumer demographic. She is a professional make-up artist with a line of own-brand cosmetics and creams and by all accounts is doing all right for herself.
During a newspaper interview (well, the Daily Mail) she revealed the shocking news that she cleans her face then changes to fresh make-up before going to bed and has never let her husband see her without any cosmetics covering her visage nor will she in future.
Make-up seller uses make-up is a scoop that seems right up there with ‘Pope still Catholic ’or ‘Plumber fixes tap’. Whether you know Charlotte or not, it is a big fat nothing, which didn’t prevent the story becoming a source of lukewarm controversy on Twitter and Facebook.
To be fair, finding someone posting stupid stuff on social media is like finding shit in a stable. One day’s output is pretty similar to another’s and at no point are we surprised by the ejecta from a horse’s arse but for some reason we expect more from people. I’m not sure why given that horses generally produce less crap than a desperate human with a smartphone but there you go, some things are just hard to explain.
The question on the writer’s forum was ‘Is all the online hoohaa and SM backlash bad for her business or is there really no such thing as bad publicity/’
So, here’s my tuppence worth. (Tuppence might be a severe over-valuation of these thoughts.)
Firstly, taking her statement at face value, I feel sorry for her. I know she is a successful, businesswoman with all the trappings of wealth and I am only one step away from selling the Big Issue but I still feel pity for her. To be so insecure in herself and her husband is terribly sad. If he is anything worthwhile at all then he cares for her with or without the greasepaint.
If he needs her to put the slap on in order to feel attracted then she can easily do better. If she needs it to feel loved then she needs therapy rather than cosmetics. It’s more likely that he doesn’t give a stuff and would barely notice if she didn’t bother. Husbands everywhere are well known for not noticing things. It is a fairly normal characteristic of the male.
Secondly, it is highly doubtful that this burst of digital hype will have any effect on her business at all but if it did there is no reason to believe that it would inevitably be positive. Although I am discussing her and her business it is still pretty unlikely (impossible) that I will become her customer. Assuming you are already her customer then you are unlikely to be put off by the fact that your cosmetics supplier uses cosmetics. If this promo piece has reached a lot of existing customers and a few like me who will never buy then it’s hard to say that it is a success or a failure.
The corporate branding is all personal to her so if she dies, mugs a pensioner or is caught in a public act of bestiality then her company goes down with her. For comparison, Jennifer Aniston just launched a new cosmetic brand this week and it’s called Lola Vie. Not @Jen or even *Rachel*. Those options are limited in time and appeal but Lola Vie could potentially be anything no matter who is in charge.
‘All publicity is good publicity’ is just one of those phrases which is trotted out sometimes. I mentioned Gerald Ratner during our online presentation as an example of a man who lost millions of pounds and control of his company despite getting onto the front pages of every newspaper for weeks, after making an unfortunate, oft misquoted, remark at a dinner.
Harold Shipman in his day, also received a ton of publicity and became very well-known indeed but that hardly made him anyone’s GP of choice and OJ Simpson is a bit short on acting offers and after dinner speeches these days despite being front page, headline news for months on end.
History abounds with examples of the famous but shunned. Much publicity is bad. Despite being one of the most famous and talked about amateur artists of the twentieth century, no gallery is rushing to exhibit its collection of Hitlers.
He should never have done that interview with the Daily Mail.
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