The Red Carpet Is Back. Luxury Brands Should Take Note.


Bénédicte Matran | August 05, 2021

Bella Hadid at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Schiaparelli Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2021/22.Credit: Courtesy of Schiaparelli.

After more than a year of cancelled events in the entertainment industry, the Cannes Film Festival returned as an important platform for luxury fashion, jewellery and beauty brands to shine once more, attracting an accumulated $101 million in Media Impact Value according to data from Launchmetrics and DLG.

When Bella Hadid stepped onto the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival last month in a floor length black gown from Schiaparelli, her chest adorned with an impressive necklace in the shape of a pair of lungs, frequency of Google searches related to the Cannes Film Festival as well as for the Italian fashion house jumped by more than 1,900 percent compared to the three weeks prior to event.

The overall Media Impact Value or MIV® measured by Launchmetrics for the brand was $8.5 million, demonstrating once again, how powerful a platform high profile-events can be for a luxury brand. Hadid’s Instagram posts alone helped to generate $1.15 million in MIV®, shared across all media and social networks including the brand’s own Instagram account.

Chopard, the official sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival, which also accompanied Hadid on the red carpet, was featured in more than 2,300 placements allowing the luxury jeweller to generate $5.9 million in MIV®.

Indeed, between June 28 and July 19, the Cannes Film Festival generated an impressive $101 million in MIV®, with nearly 75,000 placements on online media and social networks.

As the world begins to tentatively re-open its doors, brands should take note and once again make use of the opportunities that high-profile events can help with, generating media buzz around the names in luxury fashion, jewellery and beauty which appear next to the key personalities as the creators of a red carpet moment.

And while many brands benefitted from the exposure of the film festival, three in particular stood out in terms of how they leveraged their red carpet activities with complementary marketing strategies to amplify their messaging: Etro, Nespresso and Chanel. By highlighting new brand ambassadors, launching pop-up stores or collaborating with other brands, these three demonstrated how to execute a masterclass in events related marketing.

Nespresso's pop-up in Cannes, Nespresso Plage.Credit: Courtesy.

Etro took the opportunity to create content and complement their red carpet activities with a full strategy that included short films with its ambassadors, social media coverage, and a corresponding sale on its website that began at the start of July.

Nespresso collaborated with influencer Chiara Ferragni on a limited edition collection, creating a pop-up store in Cannes during the festival, and organised a dinner with special guests and dressed Ferragni in a custom Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress designed to demonstrate Nespresso’s commitment to consciously sourced materials and circularity.

At lastly Chanel showcased its two new brand ambassadors, actress Marion Cotillard, who previously worked with Dior, and singer Angèle, who is the face of one of its new campaigns, on the red carpet together, driving Google search interest for Angèle and the “Cannes Film Festival” up by 1,350 percent, while searches for Marion Cotillard were also up by 500 percent, a tremendous increase in traffic.

A graph showing the interest in the Cannes Film Festival over time through Google searches.Credit: DLG.

Interestingly, DLG data found that while Google searches for “Cannes Film Festival” have decreased since 2014, posting and sharing activities on Instagram have risen, year-on-year, as interest in the festival shifted to social media platforms. Instagram alone accounted for $16 million of the total $101 million MIV® generated by the festival. YouTube is also gaining traction as a platform, helping to generate $7 million.

Overall, visibility of the festival increased towards the end of the event, leading up to the announcement of the Palme d'Or winner, as seen in the below graph, revealing the evolution of searches on Google during the Festival.

Unsurprisingly, France makes up the majority of the media echo generated during the festival, with 33 percent of total MIV® coming from local placements.

The three media outlets that generated most coverage included Gala, Elle and Le Figaro, together accounting for 18 percent of MIV® generated by online media. France is also the country from which the term "Cannes Film Festival" was most frequently searched on Google.

While it comes as no surprise that celebrities and more recently, influencers, help with generating media buzz, one clear example was former First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, who Google searches rose more than 3,900 percent compared to her usual average. She was also the first personality to be featured in Google image search throughout the festival’s first week. The resemblance of the former first lady with the famous model Bella Hadid contributed to the success, with both Bruni and Hadid amused by their similarities in the picture that was picked up by the press.

But it’s not just established celebrities that are making an impact. Newcomer and influencer Lena Mahfouf was also able to make a splash. After a successful campaign for Bulgari, Mahfouf’s appearance on the steps of the Cannes Film Festival in a Bulgari necklace and a pink Valentino dress, generated $438K of MIV® through one post alone, placing the vlogger among the top five posts that generated the most MIV® on Instagram during the Cannes Film Festival overall.

Mahfouf's engagement almost doubled at the event. Her last 5 posts on Instagram outside of the Cannes Film Festival achieved around a 10 percent engagement rate (which is measured by the total number of interactions - such as likes and comments - the content received divided by the total number of followers), while her red carpet post had an average engagement rate of 17 percent. By choosing a newcomer, Bulgari’s bold bet played off, implicating themselves intrinsically to the influencer's growth.

Looking at the data, it’s clear to see that events like the Cannes Film Festival continue to be a meaningful platform for many luxury brands, helping them to solidify celebrity relationships and generate impressive media buzz crucial to driving brand performance. Brands would do well to look for the right voices to amplify and on the right channels, a crucial strategy to help them strive for success in the luxury landscape.