Sales of pale makeup rose by 200% in October 2009, just when New Moon —the second movie in the Twilight series—started to hit theaters.
The world has swooned over Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy outfits in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and emulated Marilyn Monroe’s halter dress in Some Like it Hot to
the point where these outfits have become
iconic themselves. Indeed, the silver screen’s
merchandising children have always been
in the fashion industry.
But makeup is playing catch-up to this
trend of movie licensing, especially since
a number of recent movies have spawned
a cult following not unlike the fervor
generated by the Beatles. The celebrated
movie Twilight, for example, grossed $70.55
million during its opening weekend, and its
sequel, New Moon, set an opening day box
office record with $72.7 million in ticket
sales. The movie not only created long lines
and anxious teens, tweens and adults alike
waiting to get their hands on tickets, but
gave them inspiration to recreate a world
where pale lips and ghostly skin was as sexy
as Brigitte Bardot.
America has always loved its licensing
opportunities. From video games to kids’
collectibles from movies such as Toy Story,
any in the Harry Potter series, and the
upcoming Iron Man 2, merchandising and
licensing have been extremely profitable
ventures for studios because of the strong
impact they’ve had to their revenues.
Licensing is basically a win-win for
the studio and the manufacturers—for
entertainment properties, licensors
generally get an up-front guarantee from a
master toy licensee, and the studio typically
gets a 10–15% cut of wholesale receipts. But
here too, there is danger for a hit or miss. If
the movie generates blockbuster sales and
generates hype, then the pressure is on for
the licensees to deliver. If the products fall
short of expectations, then the sales suffer.
The NPD Group noted licensed toys in
2009 were a cool 25% (or $5.4 billion) of
the total industry sales of $21.5 billion.
Although this number represents a slight
contraction from the 2008 figures (27% of
the $21.65 billion), it still indicates how
much fatter sales can be when licensing
plays a role in the puzzle.
The leap from licensing toys to licensing
makeup is not a hard one to make,
especially since women from all over the
world have been trying to look like Sophia
Loren and Grace Kelly ever since these
gorgeous goddesses hit the silver screen.
So when makeup companies like Twilight
Beauty marketed palettes to recreate the
Bella Swan look with its Luna Twilight
Just Bitten staining balm, Twilight Venom
and Immortal Liquid Body Shimmer, the
industry sat up and took notice.
Bath & Body Works was also quick to
jump on the Twilight craze, introducing
three movie-inspired products just as
brooding vampires started to win the hearts
of America and the world. Its offerings
included the Du Wop Twilight Lip Venom,
Twilight Woods Body Lotion and a Twilight
In fact, when Twilight hit the theaters
in late 2008, sales of pale foundation
soared, sending worshippers of traditional
bronzers and self-tanners hiding for cover
under porcelain skin. According to the
online beauty shop FeelUnique.com, sales
of pale makeup rose by 200% in October
2009, just when New Moon started to hit
theaters. Their best selling product? A fine
and pale pink illuminating powder by Bare
Escentuals called Mineral Veil.
Makeup Takes Center Stage
Of late, makeup brands have embraced
movies and tapped into their blockbuster
potential. Hits like Avatar and Tim Burton’s
Alice in Wonderland have spawned makeup
confections by Milani, Avon, OPI and
Urban Decay, to name a few, and the
products are already flying off the shelves as
though they were collectibles.
Disney Consumer Products approached
Urban Decay and OPI to create
makeup products inspired by the Alice
in Wonderland movie, and the result
was magical. Urban Decay’s Alice In
Wonderland Book of Shadows makeup
palette is like a treasure chest.* When you
open the lid, you see a marvelous pop up
of Alice gazing at a field of mushrooms.
This childlike artistic rendering frames a
handy mirror. The 16, richly pigmented eye
shadows are all named after characters or
places in Alice in Wonderland (from White
Rabbit to Curioser).
*HCT Packaging was the packaging supplier for
Urban Decay’s Alice In Wonderland Book of Shadows