Friday, October 31, 2014

Good Old Celebrity Endorsements

This big ticket item is a staple of brands, despite studies showing them ineffective. Celebrity endorsements can elevate brand image, since positive associations toward a celebrity can transfer onto the brand. Unfortunately, any scandal with the celebrity could also harm the brand (e.g. tweeting from the competitor's phone). 

Celebrity Endorsements Must Be:

  1. A Good Fit with the Brand. Is the celebrity relevant to the brand? Are their personalities and lifestyles compatible?
  2. Credible. Is the celebrity trustworthy? Do they have expertise with the brand or product category? Are they over-exposed? 
  3. Likeable. Is the celebrity attractive to the target audience? Will they get their attention? 

According to Forbes, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston, and Sandra Bullock were the most marketable celebrities last year.

But having the perfect spokesperson isn't enough. Ads with celebrities get scrutinized much more than the average commercial. Most of them are cheesy. We are all very aware of the fact that our favourite celebrities are being paid absurd amounts to promote the brand. A large figure released to the public says, 
"Look how much they had to pay me to pretend to like their crap." 

Huge payouts garner media attention, often including more backlash (what else will they write about?). In third place is BeyoncĂ©'s $50 million deal with Pepsi, which received criticism because she also played a big role in Michelle Obama's Let's Move fitness campaign.

Sports endorsements may be a different ball game. Athletes are on contracts that pay out over 5-10 years (or even a lifetime). The top deals are dominated by Nike (shown in black above). The best athletes sponsoring Nike automatically have a good fit with the brand, and credibility with the product.

Here's my favourite Matthew McConaughey spot in the new Lincoln campaign everyone's been talking about. The others are far less sensical, but they all have the same True Detective feel. He's  been "The Lincoln Lawyer" which makes the two fit better. Despite the hilarious viral parodies, this particular spot cuts the cheesiness of endorsements by acknowledging that he's getting paid to promote it, but also implying he'd be driving a Lincoln regardless. A well written ad. The value of his deal was undisclosed. 

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