The Cannes mirage for the international luxury brands

The month of May is one of the most important times of the year in France from the point of view of festivals. No sooner had one festival ended than another began. This was the case this year as well. The famous Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in Hyères has reached its 25th edition this year. The crème de la crème of international photography and fashion styling has gathered in the high class yet very relaxed atmosphere offered by the legendary Villa Noailles. The landmark cubist villa, which was built in the 1920s by Mallet Stevens, played host to this year’s edition. In order to mark the fact that a quarter of a century has passed since the festival was first organised, the famous stylist Dries Van Noten accepted to be part of the jury. Another highlight of the event was the projection of a video which retrospect on the past 10 years in the career of renowned fashion photographer Steven Klein.

Regardless of the popularity of all other festivals and events, they all fade in comparison to the Cannes Film Festival. The 63rd edition of the legendary film festival which began three days ago proves to be even more glamorous than expected. The incredible degree of exposure an event this size can offer has been known for many years now and all the top brands want to get a piece of it. Major market players like L’Oréal Paris, which has been the official make-up provider since 1998, and Chopard have long understood the benefits they can obtain from associating with the Cannes Film Festival. This year the reputed French brand, which is known worldwide for it exquisite jewellery, Chopard, celebrates its 150th anniversary. This gives them all the more reason to add even more sparkle to their presence both on and off the Cannes red carpet.  

However, the time when it was enough for a brand to get a celebrity to wear their creations on the red carpet or feature on the list of sponsors is long gone. Nowadays, a luxury or premium brand needs to work rather hard to appeal to both famous people and a larger segment of its target audience. Case in point, at this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival, San Pellegrino has set up a temporary trattoria which everyone will be able to access for a fee. Also, they have also designed a limited edition bottle with the label inspired by a film. Other big international names have teamed up to create more awareness for themselves. Grey Goose vodka designed its limited edition Elégance, packaged in a special bottle with a globe shape cap with their trademark goose on it, which is associated with a Chopard ring. Their surprising partnership can be admired at the Chopard anniversary party and the lounge they have set up at the five star luxury Martinez Hotel. Moët & Chandon have also come up with an innovative promotion strategy. They will host an event on the Bâoli private beach in order to present a new way of tasting champagne by dunking fruit in it.  

Especially in the current environment of financial difficulties, international luxury brands needs to focus more on reaching their target client base. Events such as the Cannes Film Festival are pure gold for the marketing departments of the brands that are in desperate need of promotion. As fewer and fewer high class parties and events are organised, luxury brands need to seize every opportunity they get. They need to create an entire marketing strategy that will give them as much visibility as possible on the red carpet and during the after parties, while also making sure they stay true to the brand heritage and not lower their standards just for some publicity. And this is not quite easy to do. It takes armies of highly experienced marketing and PR professionals to pull it off. However, the results are in most cases stunning. The luxury brands manage to maintain their glamour status when it comes to promotion and visibility, as if the economic crisis didn’t even exist.

Mircea Filimon