Movie and Ads Celebrate Golden Age of Hollywood Makeup

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LOS ANGELES -- Harking back to its glamorous roots as makeup artist to the stars during the golden age of Hollywood studios, Max Factor has bought into the new film, The Aviator, for a broad cross-product promotion campaign.
Kate Beckinsale plays Ava Gardner with a look provided by Max Factor, which also did the original Ava Gardner.

The Miramax movie, set for a Dec. 17 debut and already garnering Oscar buzz, is a period piece about the life and loves of billionaire eccentric Howard Hughes. It takes place from the 1920s to the 1940s -- a period when Max Factor played a major role in creating the looks for starlets and Howard Hughes paramours such as Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow and Katharine Hepburn. Original Max Factor ads and photos were used as guides to transform Aviator actresses into those film legends.

$25 million promotional plan

Max Factor plans to spend an estimated $25 million in a promotional program that includes the launch of two new products and ad campaigns that are expected to feature at least some of the movie's stars. Makeup artist Morag Ross used the Procter & Gamble Co. brand's products on Aviator actresses Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale and Gwen Stefani.

Created by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett of London, the advertising campaign includes TV, print, online and in-store elements.

"The film represents part of our history," said Joanne Granville, director of promotions for Beatwax, the U.K.-based agency that handles entertainment tie-ins for Max Factor. "It's also right on trend for the vintage looks that have been the focus on the catwalks."

The movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes, is expected to draw a large female audience deemed perfect for a cosmetics company whose executives just months ago had promised to refresh its ads, package design and product lineup.

Bridging two Hollywoods

"This movie was a unique opportunity to bridge the golden age of
Kate Beckinsale plays Ava Gardner with a look provided by Max Factor, which also did the original Ava Gardner.

Hollywood with contemporary Hollywood," said Sandy Climan, a producer of the film, along with Michael Mann and Graham King, who heads the brand integration, consulting and investing firm Entertainment Media Ventures.

A company like Max Factor should be top-of-mind for film tie-ins because it's so steeped in movie making, said Lori Sale, executive vice president for worldwide promotions at Walt Disney Co.'s Miramax. "They should be considered a traditional partner," Ms. Sale said. "It's become second nature to us to work with them. They have no shortage of innovative ideas."

Looking for the halo effect

Promotional partners, especially in categories such as fast food, soft drinks and snacks, tend to cluster around family-oriented films like Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles and SpongeBob SquarePants Movie from Paramount Pictures Nickelodeon. Marketers of adult-skewing products have increasingly turned to appropriately targeted feature films for the halo effect they can get from a big-budget project and the marketing heft a studio puts behind it. Still, serious films, especially period pieces, have a tougher time attracting marketing partners.

Max Factor has linked with Hollywood films in the past, including Chicago, Mona Lisa Smile and Bridget Jones Diary." A recent tie-in with "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, featured a sweepstakes that gave away a trip to the movie's L.A. premiere and a makeover by a Max Factor artist.

"You don't have anything like an animated character to work with," Ms. Sale said. "It's not difficult to make these deals, it's just not always so obvious which ones you should go after."
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