We've just passed the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death from an overdose of barbiturates, but the world still can’t keep its collective eyes off of her visage — or brand. She may not have an annual week dedicated to her as Elvis does, but her doe-eyed, beauty-marked visage is stronger than ever.
Forbes, which has made something of a cottage industry out of tracking dead celebrities' brands, estimates that Monroe pulled in $27 million in 2011, third behind Michael Jackson and Presley in the dead-celeb sweepstakes.
Her image and likeness are controlled by Authentic Brands Group and partner NECA, which purchased the Monroe brand in 2010. The plan in process now, according to the Associated Press, is to upgrade “Monroe offerings from trinkets to cosmetic lines, spas, salons and apparel.”
News of her doings can creepily be found on a Twitter account, where Monroe has almost 63,000 followers. That pales in comparison to the almost 3.5 million fans she has on Facebook. Glamour never sleeps, it seems. “Our aim has been to clean up the brand,” said Authentic Brands CEO Jamie Salter to the AP.
With that hope, Authentic has teamed up with such brands as Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, MAC Cosmetics and the Marilyn Monroe Cafe chain, a group of high-end coffee shops boasting "premium coffee, luscious drinks and beautiful bites," to create new products.
The target audience aren’t the men who lusted after the blonde bombshell but teenage girls still grappling with their own sexuality and notions of femininity and empowerment. Lawrence Schiller, the photographer who shot Monroe for the last time, told the AP that teenage girls have been turning out in droves to see her infamous last shoot.
“In the ‘70s the pictures that were selling were the ones that were very, very sexy,” Schiller said, but since the early 2000s, the images that sell are more of her as her everyday self. “I think people want to see her now as a real person. They want to see her in a simpler way.”
However they want to relate to Monroe, Authentic Brands and NECA are more than happy to accommodate — a very Monroevian philosophy.