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What's In Style? Brows, Strong Bangs ... and Advertising Leverage

Harpers_roadblockLeave it to Kim-Van Dang of hot shop KVD-NYC to identify the hottest trends for 2008. A former beauty director at In Style and Good Housekeeping (who has done just about everything from giving fashion advice to Bill Clinton to going skinny-dipping in Cannes with Pamela Anderson), she looks at the factors that influence how people experience things. In addition to advice on what's hot for 2008, she weighs in on the latest trend in content, which isn't in Techcrunch or PaidContent but instead the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar.

The July issue of Bazaar devotes a whopping 40 editorial pages to four celebrities and models — Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Hurley, Carolyn Murphy and Hilary Rhoda — who also star in the advertising campaign for Sensuous, a new fragrance from Estée Lauder. It's significant because it significantly blurs the distinction between advertising and editorial. Magazines typically dedicate a page — or even just a blurb — of editorial space to a new perfume.

Dang predicted that other marketers will seek to mimic Bazaar's example, demanding similar editorial attention:

"...Advertisers have something to show now and say, ‘Why am I not getting this treatment?’ In the current economy, I think advertisers have more muscle."

Fact is, cosmetic companies generally treat their product introductions like movie premieres. They hire stars and models who can land magazine covers and other media attention, or sometimes go even further, like creating a joint venture with Sarah Jessica Parker to create the Lovely fragrance. While I don't see videogame placements anytime soon, product placement is going to continue to stretch conventional definitions. I stand by my 2004 prediction that we'll see product placements in places like Second Life.

Paid placement is something I've blogged about here, here and here. If I've got a restaurant and I want to be noticed by a local upscale hotel, senior Yelp reviewer or blogger, I need to pay or comp them.

Yet the public blogosphere likens this quid pro quo to a crime, as seen on my recent conversation on Mashable. For small to medium sized businesses, you cannot wait for the infrequent blog post or twitter about your company. You have a requirement to shape the conversation.

I think there's going to be a collision, soon, between the online purists and the businesses that sell in the real world. (And it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Bonnie Fuller's hand in this.)

And as for Kim-Van Dang's thoughts? 

  • Brows are the new eyelashes. Brow salons are popping everywhere, as are brow-growing and grooming products.
  • Green is the new brown (replacing purple).
  • Strong bangs are back. Witness model Kate Moss and designer Erin Featherston.
  • It’s all about super-peptides, lasers and injectables in NYC and it’s all about eco-chic facials and elixirs in L.A.
  • Do you love visiting spas? Now you can live at one. Luxury condos with built-in spa facilities and services are the next big thing.
  • Oh, and lots of French stuff: French butters, French cheeses (Vacherin), French perfumes (Jicky, Shalimar, and Rose Barbare), and French teas (Mariage Freres).

(Hey NYC and Company! You need to recruit Kim-Van Dang into your Ask-A-Local program!)

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