Certainly L’Oréal was aware of the history, Viguier-Hovasse said, “but she has nothing to do with scandal herself. She was not the script writer. She was not the director.”
She was one target in a social-media firestorm, but then again, Jenner today has 350 million social followers herself, ahead for now of the fast-growing Instagram offshoot Threads at 150 million.
“She’s an influential woman,” Viguier-Hovasse said. “When she’s present somewhere, she makes a difference. She decides for herself. And that’s the number one asset that we’re looking for when we want to sign somebody.”
“Though she’s very famous and influential, she’s got her own way of doing things,” said Charlotte Franceries, CEO of McCann Paris. “We’re always searching for women who are accomplished, who have their own wealth.”
While Jenner does have her tequila brand, she is not a competitor of L’Oréal Paris, unlike sisters Kylie Jenner (who remains involved with Kylie Cosmetics after selling a 51% stake to Coty) and Kim Kardashian (formerly behind KKW Beauty and now SKKN by Kim skincare).
What also stood out with Jenner was that “she decided she was super-exposed at one point and had struggles with this,” Franceries said. After pulling back from the spotlight for a while, “when she re-entered the world, she decided what brands she would collaborate with,” she said. “It’s a fantastic example of women who are courageous to make their own choices and dictate their own rules.”
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The controversy Jenner has overcome is what made it possible to tell the story in her initial video, Franceries said.
Jenner also is “extremely professional,” as she showed recently on the set shooting advertising for the Infallible long-lasting makeup line for which she’s brand ambassador, Viguier-Hovasse said.
For example, Jenner knows her makeup, which she applied herself without a makeup artist. “As she was applying the makeup, she changed the color for a different scene” and had to remove the old makeup, Viguier-Hovasse said. “And she told me, ‘Oh my God, it’s [harder] than the name implies because it’s super difficult to remove.’”
Selection of brand ambassadors for L’Oréal Paris is not about “celebrity marketing” or chasing follower counts, Franceries said, but about telling stories that empower women. That’s among the reasons that L’Oréal, a brand that’s more than 100 years old, has stood the test of time in a beauty business with an endless supply of new brands and products and notorious churn, when some other venerable brands have been in long-term decline, she said.
L’Oréal is in a quiet period in terms of brand financial results pending the release of its first-half results on July 27, but Viguier-Hovasse said it continues a healthy run gaining share globally. L’Oréal Paris cosmetics sales were up 6% in the second quarter and 11% in the first quarter in U.S. outlets measured by Circana and reported by Evercore ISI.