Ok, I know I’ll be instantly accused by Anons of not being impartial when it comes to Rodial, but there is a very interesting feature in the Sunday Times Style written by Lois Rogers. To cut a long story short, she too questions Rodial’s claims. However, one thing that really stands out is that The Daily Mail on 14th July claimed that 50 bottles of Rodial Stretch MX was sent to Victoria Beckham with the header ‘Victoria Beckham Spends £3000 on Stretch Mark Cream’. Yet, in the Sunday Times Style article, it is claimed that not only has Victoria Beckham never heard of Rodial, but neither have Sienna Miller, Eva Longoria or Kylie Minogue, all of whom have been mentioned on Rodial’s site as users. More interestingly still, the Daily Mail feature claiming Victoria’s mega-order from Rodial has now been removed and there is no mention of VB on the Rodial site.
And then we have Maria’s blog (owner of Rodial), where she hazards a guess at what Demi Moore might have used to look amazing at the Met Gala Ball. “Demi looked utterly divine. At the age of 48, Demi has managed to capture her youth and is looking better than ever. Being a true fan of Rodial I suspect she has used brazilian tan LIGHT and glamoxy snake serum to achieve her glow.” She also held an event at which the celebrity was Joey Essex. “Revealing to me that Rodial and Nip+Fab were both key players in his daily routine….his smooth complexion is one of the reasons why he is in such high demand and need I say but is incredibly photogenic.” Well, yes, he would kind of say that really, given that he was paid to promote the products.
To put these claims into context, you simply aren’t allowed to make claims about celebrity use unless you have had proof from the celebrity themselves. Catherine Zeta Jones famously took umbridge in 2003 with Caudalie for saying she was a user of their products. At the time, Zeta Jones was under contract with Elizabeth Arden. She sued for £9 million so you can see it can be a very costly mistake to make. In fact, it was that case that really brought an end the constant celebrity tie-ins. When I used to write for a well-known daily paper, I couldn’t actually feature a product unless it had a celebrity fan. Copy would read like this: “X brand, loved by X celebrity, tones and firms the skin. Y Celebrity and Celebrity are also fans of the range.” It was just a standard way to write about beauty. Naturally, magazines and papers never linked Caudalie and CZJ again for fear they might also be brought to the courts.
Some celebrities are genuinely pleased to be linked to something that works for them – often, they’ll get their publicist to send a letter – carefully worded along these lines: “X Celeb was delighted to receive B Brand”. If that’s all it says, you can then say in print, “X Celeb took delivery of B Brand at her beautiful home in Slebville on Thursday.” You cannot say, “X Celeb uses B Brand all the time and loves it” on the back of this. However, if you get a letter saying, “X Celeb was delighted to receive B Brand and thinks it has truly improved her acne and is happy to share that” you can then say legitimately that they are a user. Another permutation is that you may still get a letter saying they loved the product but would like their privacy protected – particularly in the case of cellulite treatments, anti-wrinkle and hair removal that no celeb particularly wants to be twinned with – and you can then say absolutely nothing.
As a footnote, I know perfectly well which brand VB and DB adored back in the day, and they personally rang the publicist for new supplies and ALWAYS offered to pay.
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Don’t get me started on Rodial or it’s sister product line, Nip+Fab. Buckets of shea butter and mineral oil doth not a miracle product make.
such an interesting post jane.So many companies claim celebrity following, and you can always tell when its not true, it really bugs me. I would only buy a product if I actually had tried and tested it, not because some celebrity swears by it. My friend took on Rodial in her salon as the main skincare brand. The reason she took it on, apart from the fact she loved it, was because of the said celebrities who are fans and she thought this would entice customers. Very sad that they have made false claims. l
Great post as always Jane. Don’t worry about anon’s accusing you of being impartial, I think Rodial have done more then enough damage themselves to merit posts like these. I’m not even remotely surprised by this latest development. The company appears to be based on lies and ridiculous claims, not on the merit of the products they push which I think says it all.
Your excellent article reminds me of the time I was introduced to a well-known makeup line by an energetic sales assistant in Space NK. She began by telling me that Madonna was a big fan, but I told her that Madonna meant little or nothing to me.
She then asserted that Kylie Minogue was also devoted to these products. I told her that pop music wasn’t really my thing, so without missing a beat, she said:
“And Pavarotti never leaves home without it!”
As a PR, it really bugs me when brands fabricate celeb quotes to garner column inches. I wouldn’t dream of pitching a brand or product as ‘adored by x celeb’ unless there had been direct confirmation from said celeb or their agent.
One a personal note, I’m never swayed by celeb endorsement, but many are and it is just plain wrong to mislead consumers in this way. I’d bet money that Rodial aren’t the only guilty ones.
Thanks for bringing this up Jane.
LOL. Love it Jane! What The Guardian is to News International you are to Rodial! The words ‘thorn’ and ‘side’ spring to mind!
I’ve been on both sides, and while celeb endorsement doesn’t encourage me to purchase in the slightest, I’ve worked with brands where a celeb name can mean hundreds of thousands of sales. And yes, we always had proof!
As a journalist an editor once changed my copy and landed me in trouble. I’d mentioned that Beyonce had used a particular type of product – there was well documented proof and no one disputed it – but the editor re-worded my copy to say she used a particular product, which ended up with her very unhappy publicist chasing after me….
I looked out for the article after seeing your post and managed to get a copy of ST Style from a friend. I have to say I was really shocked by the article.
I used to work in a store that carries Rodial and I have to say always used to buy products with my staff discount so know a fair bit about the line.
I found it very personal and very biased. There are lots of brands that regularly quote celebrity users and this appears in every single magazine daily. As a user, I am of course sceptical about the reality but in the case of Rodial there have been numerous interviews when celebrities say which product they actually use.
I think the article missed one key point. Celebrities being past vast somes of money to say they use a product does not a good product make. Do we believe eva longoria is piling on L’oreal one million lashes every morning or is she back on her trust and chantecaille…
More so, in terms of the clinical trials, these costs tens and hundreds of thousands and the only companies that can afford them are the big names in beauty.
I understand the ambition of the journalist but think they missed the mark, promoted the benefits of the biggest brands and their clinical trials and paid celebrity endorsements and forgot to mention that Rodial has steadily grown and grown from a kitchen to a very successful company (if the numbers in the article are true) and has a large number of fans that do buy and love the products. It was quite personal, very bitchy and did not reference any other brand that also rely on celebrity users to sell products. In a market when it takes hundreds of thousands of pounds of media spend to advertise Rodial seem to generate substantial press in (not popular) but unique ways. They are not forcing anyone to buy the product, just getting their message out into the mainstream.
I could only find one article about the ASA and that was linked to an email campaign.
My question is what was the motivation for such an assassination? All of you seem delighted to see a British brand being given such an unbiased and unpleasant review but as someone who has watched the brand grow so well over the years all I can say is Good Luck Rodial. You have more chance of surviving the month than the TIMES and Style Magazine combined.
Casey thank you for your comments and in particular for not being anonymous! I’ve said in previous posts how much I like Glam Balm – an exceptional product, but I think when a brand seeks exposure, by calling their products by controvercial names such “Skinny Sticks”, “Skin Bleach” which to me have negative body image connotations, then I feel it is ok to question their publicity seeking and indeed their products. I know that Rodial’s formulator is an amazing talent and one of the most respected in the industry, so I feel that what is probably a very efficacious brand is spoiled by an over-promise in the name from the word go. There genuinely is only so much a skin preparation can do. Should we really be implying that drinking a vitamin supplement will make you skinny? Or even that you should be *skinny*? Or have your skin *bleached*? If you seek attention, you then cannot pick and choose exactly what attention you get.
Good post, Jane.
I for one am continually shocked at the LACK of scrutiny Rodial gets considering its outlandish claims; I’m not referring to the celeb mentions but the claims they make about what their products achieve, which are in no way based in reality. I do not agree with Casey (although I too am appreciative of the fact that she isn’t hiding behind the cloak of anonymity)that there is a sort of “witch hunt” going on… Rodial’s products in no way do what they claim, and yet they are still making claims and not having to dial back the way so many other brands have had to. Perhaps the legal bullying they did earlier this year is the reason why journalists have been reluctant to call them out, but call them out they should.
i found the article extremely interesting and posted my favourite snippets and own thoughts for my readers to see; it became clear that so many people had used Rodial and were left unimpressed; I am glad the ASA are looking into their somewhat volumised claims!