Dior Sauvage Is Still Using Johnny Depp in Its Ads

Once upon a time, when celebrity endorsement was born, so too was the realization that a brand entered into the relationship at its peril. The potential benefit was great: Unlike a model, which was basically a blank slate onto which a brand projected itself, a celebrity was a vessel already full of associations, be it glamour, masculinity or philanthropy. However, if cracks appeared in that facade, they could send shock waves to the products.

“In the past, when a celebrity was accused of anything, almost anything, even before going to court, a luxury brand would distance itself,” said Robert Burke, the founder of a luxury consulting firm. Luxury brands were notoriously averse to controversy and any association that could upset consumers or tarnish the golden glow of the brand name.

But, said Lucie Greene, the founder of the forecasting and strategy firm Light Years, “We’re also seeing some big celebrities bounce back and buy back. Almost on the brink of being cyclical.” Take Kourtney Kardashian’s Dolce & Gabbana “hosted” wedding, for example, which was another phase in that brand’s return after multiple insults from the designers.

“The general public is exhausted by the culture of cancellation and accusations, and brands are not as quick as they could have been to take a stance,” said Mr Burke. He and Mrs. Greene think this could be the start of a shift.

Reactions are no longer spasmodic. That’s a good thing. But the silence, at least on the part of Dior, who failed to respond to multiple emails asking for comment, seems less measured than calculated.

Dior may be betting that despite the wide public interest in the Depp-Heard trial, consumers will follow the next escapist distraction now that the verdict has been passed. Dior’s loyalty as a company to its chosen celebrity and understanding that we are all fallible creatures will outweigh the kind of behavior Mr. Depp has already acknowledged. That upsetting Ms. Heard’s fans is less potentially harmful than upsetting his fans.

SOURCE : www.nytimes.com

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