Archive for the ‘NARS’ Category

Stop The Presses: You Can Say ‘Orgasm,’ As In NARS Cosmetics, On QVC Now

May 24, 2010

QVC has apparently lifted its ridiculous ban of the word “orgasm.”

Monday morning prim QVC host Jill Bauer used the naughty “O” word during a presentation on a three-piece collection of NARS Orgasm lip gloss and blush. Orgasm is a popular, pretty peach makeup shade by NARS.

But in the past, as recently as a week or so ago, QVC host Lisa Robertson was not allowed to say “Orgasm” when talking about the NARS cosmetics. Hello, it’s 2010, not 1950!

Today, however, Bauer started off the NARS presentation by saying, “We’re going to say a grown-up word here.”

She warned viewers to shoo any children out of the room.

Then she and the NARS rep discussed the Orgasm makeup.

“It’s a magical color,” Bauer said.

It sure is, Jill.

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We Hate To Break It To You, Fellow Jewelry Lovers, But It Looks Like Another Year Of Boring Laptops, B. Makowksy Bags and Wii On QVC

February 25, 2010

Mike, enough with the Clarisonic, cause we don't care if it's one of Lisa's favorite things

QVC had a great fourth quarter, which is good for the home shopping network but bad for jewelry geeks like us.

The U.S. channel, a unit of John Malone’s Liberty Media, Thursday reported a 13 percent jump in revenue to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

“We posted our strongest quarterly results in over 10 years, and moved our full-year results into positive territory,” QVC CEO and president Mike George told analysts during a conference call Thursday.

And George got a pat on the back from his boss, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei.

“At Liberty Interactive, QVC had a very impressive fourth quarter, which capped a greatly improved 2009 overall,” Maffei said.

Why is all this bad news for bling lovers? George said that QVC saw the revenue gains because it posted strong sales on consumer electronics, kitchen and floor care, beauty, accessories and fashion jewelry. Apparel, while soft, improved significantly over the trend for prior quarters, according to George.

“Jewelry, especially gold, did remain difficult, however,” he said, at one point noting, “We continue to pull back our time on jewelry.”

That means more Wii and Clarisonic shows, not sterling and gold (fashion jewelry doesn’t count). Break out the No-Doz.

George spent quite a bit of time crowing about Isaac Mizrahi joining the QVC family, but offered no numbers on how well the designer’s extensive line of products have sold.

“Compelling exclusive content is powering our business,” he said, calling the debut of the Mizrahi line as “one of the biggest brand launches in our history.”

QVC also premiered Godiva chocolate, NARS cosmetics, Stephen Dweck diamonds and fashions by celebrity styliest Rachel Zoe in the fourth quarter, said George, who boasted that the channel in its history had never had the level of publicity and buzz it got in the final quarter.

Veteran brands on QVC — B. Makowsky, Rachael Ray, Philosophy, Bobbi Brown and Dennis Basso in fashion — performed well in the quarter, according to George.

Some 720,000 new customers joined QVC in the fourth quarter (which we presume means they made purchases), a 22 percent increase in the number of new customers a year ago. Revenue from new customers was up 53 percent from last year.

“At any given point in time we have 10 non-customers watching QVC for every customer watching QVC,” George said. “So when we get it just right, and get the right kind of products that have high appeal to new names, as we did in Q4, you can really get explosive growth without any additional advertising or other support, just by people coming by the channel.”

He also attributed some of QVC’s fourth-quarter success to the more favorable channel position it now has on DirecTV and Dish Network, and the fact that the network’s HDTV channel is now in more than 25 million homes.

In December QVC launched an iPhone application that’s been downloaded by 115,000 customers in a little over two months, George said.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New QVC Vendor Francois Nars Tells Allure Magazine That His Orgasm Blush Looks Good On Everybody

November 25, 2009

The December issue of Allure magazine has an interview with Francois Nars, the man who created the upscale NARS cosmetics line. We assume he is the guy that named the line’s popular blush color “Orgasm.”

In the story, the French Nars talks about his 15-year-old makeup line and how he likes to keep a low profile and not make many public appearances.

Maybe that’s why he didn’t show up for the debut of NARS on QVC recently, when host Lisa Robertson was not allowed to say “Orgasm,” the name of his blush.

Nars, who owns an island near Tahiti, talks about his mom and his side career as a photographer, shooting models for his ads.

He also told Allure that he knows every inch of Madonna’s body, from doing her makeup for her music videos. We’re not touching that one.

Allure described the NARS Orgasm blush as having “a notorious name.”

And Nars says it “looks good on practically everybody.”

By the way, we missed this Nov. 14 New York Times Q-&-A with HSN CEO Mindy Grossman. Take a peek.

On The Network Where You Can’t Say ‘Orgasm,’ Joan Rivers Directs QVC Viewers To A Web Site With Bare-Breasted Women, Dreamgirls.com

November 24, 2009

Joan Rivers Got Her URLs wrong

Life is full of irony, and so is QVC.

The home shopping network recently banned host Lisa Robertson from saying the word ‘Orgasm,’ which is the name of a shade of blush from high-end cosmetics line NARS.

Then just over a week later, comedian and jewelry maven Joan Rivers is on the air telling viewers to go to a Web site where we found half-naked women. Here’s what happened Monday.

Rivers is not shy about promoting the jewelry she does for QVC, even wearing it to red-carpet events.

Rivers, who has been a QVC vendor for almost 20 years, was on the network talking about an enormous fabric flower pin that’s part of her jewelry line. As we have said, our motto is go big or go home, so we loved it. It was $29.50.

Rivers said she wore the huge flower on Sunday when she attended the star-studded premiere of the musical “Dreamgirls” in Harlem.

“Last night I went to this huge opening,” Rivers said on QVC. “That’s (the flower pin) what I’m wearing.”

Rivers told viewers to go to a Web site, “Look it up, Dreamgirls dot something,” to see photos of her at the opening. Well, we went to Dreamgirls.com, and there were no shots of Rivers.

Instead, we saw five very attractive bare-breasted women beckoning those over 18 to enter the site. We take it that Joan gave us the wrong URL.

But we did find several Web sites that had shots of Rivers at “Dreamgirls,” and she was in fact sporting her flower, in silver.

On “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Rivers often wore her QVC jewelry. Maybe that gave her the edge that helped her win.

The Debate Over QVC’s Ban Of The Word ‘Orgasm’ On NARS Premiere Continues: ‘Childish’ Versus ‘Disgusting’

November 20, 2009

About a week ago, we wrote about the debut of NARS cosmetics on QVC, where host Lisa Robertson was banned from saying the name of one of the makeup line’s blushes: Orgasm.

It seemed ridiculous to us, but Robertson and the NARS rep were only able to refer to that particular color as “O” or “starts with an ‘O,’ ends with an ‘M.'” QVC did, however, run the color’s name on-screen.

Well, that NARS shows sparked a lively debate on QVC’s online forums, with some viewers skewering the home shopping channel for being silly and prudish; and others taking QVC’s side, criticizing NARS.

One of the posters cracked us up, when she joked that QVC wouldn’t allow the word “orgasm” to be said on-air because “they don’t want to make any false ‘medical claims.'”

Robertson had said that censors barred her from saying the Big O. One QVC poster found that hard to believe, writing, “After all, it’s not among the 7 dirty words that can’t be uttered, as per FCC rulings. (Hope this makes it by the censors!!!)”

Wrote another poster, “I think it was very childish of them not to call the Nars blush Orgasm as that is what it is named. Constantly saying the blush that starts with an ‘O’ and ends with an ‘M’ was so annoying. I love this product and have worn it for quite some time now. Good to know that the Q offers it, but guys, c’mon and grow up. If it’s written on screen in full during it’s showing, why not just say the word? After all, as per Lisa and the rep, “it’s the most popular choice among the blushes.”

But others blasted NARS, not QVC.

“I think it’s disgusting that NARS has to name their products these names,” said one poster. “Can’t the product stand alone without the s-xual names?”

She wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

“I TOTALLY agree with you, Missy,” another QVC poster wrote. “If anything is childish, it’s this company stooping to such a level of product naming. This couldn’t be more ridiculous, disgusting or inappropriate.”

But yet another poster shot right back.

“What’s disgusting about it?” she wrote. “It’s not a swear word or a ‘dirty’ word or an obscene word. Obviously, it’s meant to invoke a certain experience that most people find enjoyable, and the word, especially in its adjective form, is quite often used in a general way to describe anything that supposedly resembles that unique experience.”

Wrote a poster, “I had to read this blog twice! ARE YOU PEOPLE SERIOUS? We are all adults here. OK-so QVC didn’t want to say the word O—-M. Fine. But I too wonder what is wrong with the rest of you that are so prim and proper you are ridiculing the company itself for having used a name like that or using s-xual-like names in general. The company is classy and does not come off vulgar at all. It is a beautiful color by the way.”

By the way, Orgasm is on wait-list on QVC.

On NARS Makeup Debut, You Can Buy An ‘Orgasm,’ But QVC Host Lisa Robertson Can’t Say It

November 12, 2009

Is orgasm a naughty word? Well, it’s apparently too racy for QVC.

You can’t make this stuff up. On Wednesday night QVC premiered the high-end NARS cosmetics line, but no one was allowed to say the name of the popular color of one of the brand’s lip glosses and blushes, the aforesaid “Orgasm.”

Host Lisa Robertson from the get-go warned viewers about the names of the NARS items, saying, “Some of them are provocative, some a little shocking.”

Hey QVC: If you can’t say the name of a makeup color on the air, don’t sell it. The Orgasm blush is extremely popular, iconic even.

NARS rep Stephanie Gower referred to the forbidden Orgasm color lip gloss as “the one that cannot be named.” Some of the lip gloss names that Robertson was permitted to say were “Triple X” and “Striptease.”

The “O” problem resurfaced when Robertson talked about the  NARS’s stick blush, which also has a color “Orgasm.” Once again, it was the word that dare not be spoken on QVC.  All Gower could tell viewers was “I do use the Big O.”

By the way, the Orgasm blush color was described as “a peachy pink with shimmer.”

Although QVC banned Robertson and Gower from saying the apparently dirty word, the network did show the name “Orgasm” onscreen in the product descriptions.

The irony was that the NARS debut took place during QVC’s “What a Girl Wants” 24-hour special. Well, we thinks most girls want an orgasm.

By the way,  the French makeup master Francois Nars was missing in action in West Chester, Pa., for his line’s premiere on QVC. That was pretty lame and disappointing. 

“He is a busy, busy gentleman,” Robertson said.

We don’t care. Francois should have gotten his French butt to QVC’s studios. The brief video clip of him was no substitute.

(In retrospect, maybe Francois was a no-show because he was mad that QVC, lead by us prudish Americans, wouldn’t say the name of his Orgasm blush on the air.)

We Hope Francois Doesn’t Disappoint With Nars Cosmetics Debut On QVC

November 10, 2009

QVC has landed another high-end makeup vendor to its lineup, Nars.

The cosmetics line will debut on QVC Wednesday at 8 p.m. It is one of many high-profile makeup brands that QVC has brought on board to broaden its product mix, names like Bobbi Brown, Laura Geller, Smashbox and the popular Bare Escentuals.

On Monday, QVC CEO Mike George attribituted the network’s solid third quarter in part to strong makeup sales, saying the channel has “built a prestige beauty business.”

Here is the network’s spin on Nars.

“Chic, sophisticated and timeless with a twist, Nars is the beauty brand for the modern, independent woman. At the heart of this iconic brand is creator François Nars’ philosophy: there are no rules when it comes to beauty; whatever makes you look and feel good is right,” says QVC’s web site.

“From his early days as a student at the Carita Makeup School in Paris to his work in New York with fashion’s top publications, François Nars has helped to transform the face of beauty. His distinct aesthetic is evident throughout the entire Nars collection and in all of Nars’ advertising campaigns, which François photographs himself,” so we are told.

“Nars embraces a woman’s individuality, providing her with a bold, rich color palette, a range of luxurious textures and the confidence to express herself. A favorite of beauty insiders and magazine editors, Nars is also the choice of celebrities, makeup artists and fashionistas.”

Let’s see if it becomes the choice of Homeshoppingistas.