By Sarah Green (not the E-list ex Blue Peter celebrity)
Celebrity endorsement at your peril. Can your brand afford to take the potential risk? Is there such thing as a ‘risk-averse’ celebrity?
Who would have thought that squeaky-clean Tiger Woods would have seen his world (and his brand endorsements) come tumbling down around him? But then again, Kate Moss regained her status as a leading celebrity brand endorser post the cocaine scandal with her TopShop partnership. Escalating the retailer’s profile and sales significantly.
Yes, in this mad world where Katy Perry’s makeup-free face makes the front page of the tabloids, celebrity endorsements can sure pack a punch. The constant challenge for marketers is to come up with new ideas, ensure there is relevance and to keep things interesting. Why would multi-millionaires Billy Connolly or the then newly-weds Ashley and Cheryl Cole give a toss about the Lottery? Just a smug ‘invitation’ to give it a go with the opportunity to have a taste of their fabulous lifestyles?
Walkers’ association with Gary Lineker is one of the long-lasting celebrity partnerships that has benefitted from refreshing and updated campaigns; they’re topical, tongue-in-cheek, and can incorporate other partnerships (eg Comic Relief). Gary can also complement additional personality endorsements as diverse as Lionel Richie to the current ‘Clash of the Comics’. The long term relationship has worked well for both parties.
But one-night stand relationships can be just as rewarding and have the desired effect on brand sales albeit on a tactical basis. The crucial thing here is timing – assessing the celeb’s appeal to coincide with the brand hitting the shelves or being made available. Kylie was perfect for the launch of the ‘small but beautifully formed’ Ford Street Ka; Morrisons and M&S have also used celebrities tactically to capture the zeitgeist. Right person, right place, right time, short or long term, the role of celebrity will continue to play its part in the marketing landscape.