Celebrity Endorsement – Asset or Liability?

Celebrity Endorsement!

Often times, companies make use of celebrities and influencers as their brand ambassadors, as such brands leverage on the popularity, appeal, goodwill and the equity enjoyed by these celebrities. Many brands both local and international have made use of celebrities in their campaigns and still continue to do so.

Celebrity endorsement comes with its pros and cons. Brands have derived benefits in the use of celebrities through:

  • Brand association: Brands are able to tap into the huge appeal of the personality. It is assumed that in the selection of the celebrities, due diligence would have been undertaken to ensure that there is an alignment between the brand personality, its values and that of the celebrity. For a celebrity with a huge fan base, this is a positive reflection on the brand; Michael Jordan/Nike partnership is a case in hand.

 

  • Increased sales drive: Celebrity endorsement is an indication of the acceptance of the brand by the celebrity, as such fans draw on their affinity with their role model to patronize the brand.

 

  • Brand Recall: With celebrities featuring in advertising campaigns, brands enjoy a high recall, as the campaign becomes a reference point with consumers.

On the other hand, we have seen cases of celebrity endorsement going sour due to various reasons as enumerated below:

  • Celebrities overshadowing the brand: In any advertising campaign, the brand should be the hero. The role of the celebrity needs to be well articulated to prevent overshadowing the brand thereby stealing the spotlight from them.

 

  • Celebrity lifestyle impacts on the brand: Even with the most carefully selected celebrity, a brand cannot predict the future behavior of their celebrity. Celebrities are human beings and are prone to mistakes. Any negative news on the celebrity rubs off on the brand. This is often a risky area of celebrity endorsement. This was demonstrated with Tiger Woods with issues in his personal life, we saw many of the companies associated with him hurriedly dropping him to protect the integrity of their brands. Sometimes, it may not be as easy as dropping the celebrity; it may damage the brand’s sales and reputation.

 

  • Bad representation of the brand: Some celebrities sign up for advertising campaigns without any appreciable knowledge of the brand values or personality. This sometimes makes them act in variance to what the brand stands for. We have seen situations where celebrities use competing brands; this is disastrous to the essence of using a celebrity!

 

  • Dilution of impact: We have seen the same set of celebrities endorsing many brands at the same time. Though often not competing brands, but they compete for the share of attention and share of voice of the celebrity. In this situation, the impact enjoyed by any of the brand is diminished.

In conclusion, brands have to carefully consider the pros and cons in using celebrities and ensure they have a well-articulated crisis management plan should anything go wrong.

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