Actress Lori Loughlin and her influencer daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli are headlining Steve Madden’s latest advertising campaign, their first-ever together.
The mother-daughter team are the first of several that will carry “The Perfect Pairing” campaign.
Their team effort in front of the camera comes more than four years after they were caught up in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. The “Full House” and “Friday Night Lights” actress has clearly moved on. During an exchange about an interview with Loughlin, a publicist for Loughlin said she would not be addressing her personal experience, and then requested questions in advance, which WWD subsequently declined.
Without question, the Steve Madden job signals a professional leap for Loughlin, who served nearly two months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge in relation to helping to facilitate her two daughters’ acceptance to the University of Southern California with a $500,000 bribe. Loughlin’s designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, served nearly five months. The actress, who is represented by the Burstein Company’s Joannie Burstein, will star in the upcoming holiday movie, “A Christmas Blessing,” which will air next month on Great American Family. Loughlin also served as the film’s executive producer.
Madden said he thought casting the mother-daughter duo “would be great for the brand.”
He has known Loughlin for years, since his company produced shoes for her husband’s Mossimo sportswear brand, and the two men have played golf together in California. Loughlin and Olivia Jade “look great” and bring with them “lots of followers,” (the UTA-represented Olivia Jade alone has nearly 3 million across Instagram and YouTube), Madden said.
Acknowledging Loughlin’s involvement in the college admissions scandal, Madden said, “We’ve both had trials and tribulations in our lives. I was just happy to do it. They are such nice people.”
After being convicted of stock manipulation, money laundering and securities fraud in 2002, Madden served 31 months of a 41-month sentence in a federal prison. At that time, he resigned as chief executive officer from the New York-based company that he had started.
Madden needed no reminding that the family’s tie to that scandal would add a new controversial element to the campaign, and speculated about the public’s possible response. “I don’t think anybody cares. It’s old news. We have these second chances in life, as I did. That’s it. The way I look at it, she paid her debt to society. It’s over,” he said.
Speaking about his own circumstances, Madden said he was “very lucky” that “people just sort of got over it.”
After a few months in a halfway house and then home confinement, Madden returned to his New York City offices full-time as both the executive and creative leader. ”They liked my shoes. It just sort of faded away,” Madden said. “I came back with the [portrayal of his involvement with convicted stockbroker and trader Jordan Belfort] in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ There are more people who are interested in second chances and [saying] ‘Oh look, where he’s come from, and what he did,’ after the mistakes that I had made.”
Owning up to those mistakes publicly and declaring a readiness to go forward perhaps helped, he said. “But today, most of the people don’t know that I went to prison. If it wasn’t for that [2013 Martin Scorsese] movie, they would never know.”
Even on social media, Madden said people have been “very forgiving” toward him. “There have been very few haters out there. They like what we’ve done and they like our shoes. They have given me a second chance,” Madden said.
Shot in New York City, the new ads are meant to exude coolness, timeless style and have intergenerational appeal. Other mother-daughter duos will be featured in upcoming ads, including the musician Madison Beer and her mother Tracie, culinary specialist Padma Lakshmi and her daughter Krishna, and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey and her daughter Noelle Robinson.
Earlier this month, Madden bought the “super-value” young clothes brand Almost Famous in a $52 million cash deal. Although his signature company is still opening stores, it is not doing so as rapidly as before the pandemic. Outposts in Nashville; the Georgetown section of Washington D.C.; and Tampa, Fla., are on the docket, and international expansion is broadening globally. Madden chalked up that interest to consumers’ appreciation for the brand, as well as “good luck, good fortune and serendipity.”