LOS ANGELES: Influential product placement firm Film Fashion is merging into Rogers & Cowan in what CEO Tom Tardio describes as "an evolving of product placement."
The boutique shop specializes in placing high-end designer clothes and accessories on celebrities at red carpet events. The firm's clients include Chopard, Swarovski, Monique Lhuillier, and Elsie Katz Couture. Susan Ashbrook, former head of Film Fashion, has helped those clients win placements including Hillary Swank's earrings at this year's Golden Globes and Brittany Spear's wedding dress.
While dressing stars is nothing new for fashion houses, in recent years the business has changed from an informal sideline to big business, with stars now demanding more for the loan of their bodies, including payments and long-term contracts. Some stars are even brokering deals for their own stake in fashion businesses.
"It's becoming much more sophisticated and savvy," said Susan Ashbrook, who is taking the title of EVP at Rogers & Cowan.
"What we're realizing as a business plan is that the celebrities are actually becoming an important factor in the success of many fashion houses and designers," said Tardio. "It's not just about PR. It's about creating the opportunity for the right photo, which generates the right publicity."
Tardio says the merger will allow R&C to help both celebrity and corporate clients reach each other "at the right point in the cycle" to create working relationships.
Ashbrook added that the benefit is not always solely on the corporate side and that some lesser celebrities benefit from the association with fashion.
"Some celebrities, the only kind of publicity they get is from the fashion they wear," she said. "Somebody like Nicole Richie or Paris Hilton, the world knows them more from what they wear than their acting."