PR on the red carpet

By Wendy Luyckx (

Did you watch the ceremony of the 83rd Academy awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars)? Probably not, as it was only 5 am in Belgium. 🙂

You may think I am crazy but for this opportunity I set my alarm … since neither Richard nor George invited me this year. And I really wanted to be a part of it.

Nevertheless it was a fabulous show. What struck me most is that year after year, the Oscars ceremony has become THE commercial PR event for the Versace’s, the Prada’s, Gucci’s and Chanel’s, for the Chopard’s and the Louboutins of this world. Whether it’s the Academy Awards, EMI’s or theGolden Globes, the focus has moved out of the ceremony room, onto the red carpet.

Put your marketing budget in the red carpet PR

Patty Fox, the famous Oscars stylist, summarizes very well the essence of what the Oscars have become: “The red carpet is all about style, the room is about movies.” Celebrities are the live promoters of the brands they are wearing. People love it and identify themselves with the stars. Fashion designers have understood and increasingly move their marketing budgets away from advertising and into the red carpet PR.

Just for a moment, imagine Penélope Cruz or Nicole Kidman wearing a magnificent Chopard necklace at the Cannes Film Festival. Their picture will travel around the world in no time, quicker and cheaper than any advertisement can achieve. And I assure you, people will love Chopard, even if today they can’t afford it.

It’s a sign of our times, a reflection of how fashion and luxury brands are organized to make us love – and buy – their products.  In his book “We are consuming like hell”, the Belgian sociologist Dirk Geldof explains why people are eager to buy exclusive fashion or luxury accessories. It’s because people are convinced that they are worth it and deserve it…

“Yes, I think I am worth it”

Especially people between 25 and 50 work very hard, build a career, get promoted, raise children and end up with hardly any free time for themselves. But their stress and effort need to be compensated one way or the other. Therefore most of what they buy, are compensation purchases. Work hard, play hard, enjoy hard…  I think Geldof is right and I recognize myself in this. I admit I am one of these people who love shopping, enjoying exclusive quality, indulging in style and spoiling myself with a stylish dress or a trendy handbag or shoes after a week of hard work.  And yes, I think I am worth it 😉

Luxury brands and fashion designers are responding to that sociological reality. More than that, they anticipate it. They create the appetite, the almost irresistible desire to own that Gucci outfit, those Louboutins shoes, that Hermés handbag. That’s why they invest millions of dollars in sponsoring celebrities to walk across the red carpet while showing their products to the world.  It’s a new way of thinking about fashion shows, making the Oscars ceremony a phenomenal PR event. It’s all about style and fashion. Oh, I almost forgot, it’s also a little bit about movie awards.

Halle Berry wearing one of the most stunning Oscar evening dresses (designer not communicated)

The star of the night Anne Hathaway in a Valentino dress wearing Tiffany-jewelry (Photonews)

Nathalie Portman won the Oscar for best actress in ‘The Black Swan’

Sharon Stone wearing one of the most stunning Oscar evening dresses (designer not communicated)


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