30 Mar WHEN YOU DROP YOUR FRONT WOMAN
Well, it’s one way to hide a disappointing financial result ….
One of Australia’s best known retail brands, Oroton, has just announced a 52 per cent drop in profits for the six months to the end of January to $1.8 million, with revenue during the same period down by 10 per cent.
But the angle that got the media interested had little to do with the financial details. Rather, the headlines have been all about the decision by Oroton not to renew its contract with Australian film and television star Rose Byrne.
The hard-working Byrne, who is probably best remembered for her part in Bridesmaids (or is that just me?), has been the “face” of the brand for the past three years.
According to Oroton, the company has decided to “transition away from Rose Byrne to younger influencers”, which is classic corporate gibberish.
The media have interpreted this to mean that Oroton thinks Byrne is too old to represent the brand, even though she is just 37.
It’s a long way from the publicity that surrounded Byrne’s appointment barely three years ago, when Oroton described the Hollywood star as “the perfect fit” for the company’s image: “effortlessly stylish, feminine, intelligent and a natural beauty”.
At a time when surveys show that Australians think authenticity is the most valuable of brand attributes, dropping Byrne raises questions about Oroton’s initial commitment to finding a “perfect fit”.
And given that most of Oroton’s loyal customers are most likely to be aged in their 30s and beyond, it is the type of decision that can best be described as courageous.
Then again, the reason for the change may be only partly motivated by a “brand refresh”, with an Oroton spokeswoman quoted as saying: “Typically, an influencer will not cost as much as a major globally known actor.”
Which proves yet again that when things go pear-shaped, the bean counters come out to play, regardless of the impact on a company’s reputation.