Jolie’s ‘Creepy-Sexy’ Maleficent Feeds YouTube CrazeAnousha Sakoui and Christopher Palmeri
If you want red lips like Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent,” Internet make-up artists Nicole Guerriero and Kandee Johnson will be happy to help.
The two are among dozens of video bloggers posting make-up tutorials that have helped sell out products tied to the Walt Disney Co. film, which opens today. Estee Lauder Cos.’ MAC Cosmetics, the studio’s marketing partner, developed a line for Maleficent and works with Web personalities like Guerriero.
“I love that creepy, sexy vibe that Angelina is giving off in the movie,” Guerriero said in an interview. “People want to re-create that.”
Disney and MAC Cosmetics are tapping a booming audience at Google Inc.’s YouTube, where views of beauty-related videos have more than doubled to 700 million a month in three years. With social media, the partners can reach audiences with a precision print and TV lack, finding fans who might buy lipstick, as well as tickets to the live-action film based on the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.”
“Cosmetics form a kind of two-way street between the movie world and the fan’s ordinary world,” said Jeff Gomez, chief executive officer of Starlight Runner Entertainment, which advises studios on marketing. “That very touch of glamour becomes a point of conversation between the fan and her friends, whether in person or through social media.”
True Love’s Kiss, a MAC Cosmetics lipstick matching Jolie’s shade in the film, is sold out online. The MAC store on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles was also out of the product and other items from the limited edition line.
At YouTube.com, blogger Michelle Phan’s how-to Maleficent video has been viewed more than 500,000 times since May 23. Her website invites fans to enter a sweepstakes for the products.
Johnson helps film fans re-create the Jolie look in a 7:28 minute clip. She has more than 2 million subscribers. The video has been seen almost 318,000 times since it was posted May 21.
Guerriero, flashing the MAC Cosmetics products to her audience in a video titled “Maleficent Inspired Makeup,” has been seen more than 130,000 times.
The Tampa, Florida-based make-up artist, who has been blogging for four years, said she promotes only about 10 percent of the products that manufacturers provide.
While neither Disney nor MAC Cosmetics would discuss financial terms, movie tie-ins are typically short term. They let marketers link to a star like Jolie at a fraction of the cost of a long-term endorsement, according to Stu Seltzer, whose Seltzer Licensing specializes in such arrangements.
Rather than pay a royalty on sales, the parties often agree to spend a specific sum on advertising, he said.
The risk in such tie-ins is that the movie bombs, Seltzer said. Theater traffic could fade after a couple weeks, leaving companies with unsold product. Such deals are negotiated a year or more before a film comes out.
“On paper it looks awesome,” Seltzer said. “Will it be as big as ‘Frozen?’ Probably not. Will it last more than two weeks? Who knows?”
“Maleficent” is a prequel to “Sleeping Beauty.” The film tells the story of the fairy Maleficent, and how she is turned from a good-hearted woman into the evil character who curses Princess Aurora. BoxOffice.com forecasts weekend sales of $68.5 million for the movie, which cost an estimated $200 million to make, according to Imdb.com.
Hollywood and the make-up industry have been collaborating for a century, ever since Max Factor began powdering silent stars like Clara Bow. At the Cannes Film Festival this month, actresses Zoe Saldana and Blake Lively walked the red carpet as ambassadors for L’Oreal SA, not to promote any particular movie.
Disney’s promotion is one of a growing number by studios trying to reach fans through beauty industry tie-ins.
Cover Girl, part of Procter & Gamble Co., worked with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. on products tied to “The Hunger Games,” the dystopian films featuring Jennifer Lawrence. Fans could make up like characters in the picture with a lipstick priced under $10.
Lions Gate also licensed cosmetics rights for the “Twilight” teen vampire series and followed up this year with a collaboration for “Divergent” with Sephora, the beauty chain owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. A multipiece collector’s kit sold for $59.50.
“Maleficent” is already outpacing those in Web interest. A search on YouTube for “Maleficent” hair and makeup turned up more than 79,000 videos, according to Gina Shalavi, a YouTube spokeswoman. That compared with 57,000 for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and 41,000 for “Divergent.”
Disney, based in Burbank, California, approached MAC Cosmetics two years ago. It’s one of the biggest cosmetics campaigns ever for the entertainment company and marks the first time MAC Cosmetics has created a line tied to a particular film, according to both companies.
Maleficent product displays were set up in more than 600 MAC stores in over 80 countries, and with retailers such as Macy’s Inc. and Selfridges & Co. The marketing campaign included ads in Vanity fair, Vogue, the New York Times and U.K. Sunday Times Style section.
“We were thrilled to be a brand in line with Maleficent’s vision and themes of storytelling, female empowerment, transformation, and of course, beauty,” James Gager, MAC Cosmetics group creative director, said in an e-mail. “We encourage self-expression, individuality and self-transformation, as these are the basic foundations of the brand.”
Gager said his group saw “tremendous success” in 2010 when it introduced “Venomous Villains” products based on Disney characters.
At the MAC Cosmetics website, the $23 Maleficent sculpting powder and $21.50 longwear lip pencil were also sold out, while other elements such as the $44 eyeshadow palette were still available. Some existing products were repackaged as part of the Maleficent line.
“The Maleficent range is doing very well with our customers so far,” Elodie Bohuon, Selfridges’ beauty buyer, said in an e-mail. “Limited editions resonate really well with the Selfridges customers as these tend to bring an element of excitement to the brand and help tap into the customers’ imagination.”