Think Michael Jordan and you may think Nike, Gatorade, or Hanes. William Shattner will inspire you to up your negotiation game ala Priceline while Sex in the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker attempted to make Gap a fashion forward choice.
But Bill Cosby was the famous face and voice for Jell- Uh- Oh.
And Tiger Woods took a swing at endorsements but led over 10 brands (who were using him all at the same time) like Tag Heuer, American Express, Gillette, and Buick into the sand trap.
In 2013- our own CLEAR LABS hired Ryan Lochte for Yogurtology to launch a new line of flavors and give to charity with success.
But three years later, Lochte is fighting for his name and fame after the RIO 2016 scandal. Pine Bros. Cough drop company decided he was Gold immediately thereafter deciding he should be a spokesperson for the – ahem- “forgiving on your throat” product. CLEAR still loves working with Ryan (for the record) But, it made us take a deeper look into the risks and benefits of celebrity endorsements.
• Can help Build brand equity and enhance recognition
• Can help give a product credibility
• Help people remember ads
• Connect to a personality or perception
• Make people believe the product contributes to their own superstar status.
• Stand out from the competition
• People change. Your brand may be forever linked to that “used to be great” person
• People are people and people do stupid things.
• Limits to the brand pivot. You are forever aligned with that personality- or at least it takes a long time to convince people otherwise
• Your brand can be forgotten under the shadow of the celebrity
Okay, so lets say you weighed out the pro’s and cons and decided it was worth the plunge.
Your brand is your company asset. Don’t give it away to anyone. Advertisers need to select celebrities who represent the image and promise of their brands- well. Very well. One size wont fit all.
For example, when Sarah Jessica Parker signed with GAP her role on Sex in the City presented her as a style diva- haute couture- bring on the shoe closet. This didn’t relate to Gap’s consumers. They quickly replaced her with Keith Urban but oh the cost of that change.
Will you make money? No doubt the value of a celebrity endorsement can be recognized in terms of a sales spike. But it wont come cheap. It takes time and repetition for association to occur. Celebrity endorsements are not short-term tactics. And thus, they are often costly in dollars and cents.
Most advertisers can’t afford the millions of dollars it takes to ink a celebrity endorser.
Your own backyard “celebrity”
Social media marketing and referrals may not be a bad option in lieu of the risk (or cost) of major celebrity.
A Forrester Research survey says about 56 percent of respondents reported friends or family influenced them when they were choosing which brands to purchase in a given category of products. This is no surprise given the power of online reviews and product rankings.
The indisputable take-away regardless of your decision- opinions and testimonials of real people matter and ultimately that is what we look for (supercharged) with a celebrity endorsement.