Should You Use That Over-Priced Celebrity to Promote Your Brand?

by Niki Petit | 22 Jul 2013


When developing creative for a brand campaign, many companies incur the expense of high-priced celebrity spokespeople. Local radio DJs and TV news staff, national actors and athletes, even politicians have supplemented their income with brand gigs.

Working at an ad agency in Green Bay, Wisconsin the most prominent celebrity spokespeople are of course the Green Bay Packers. Every company, large and small, wants to use a Packer to promote their brand. Is this strategy really worth the high-price expense? Perhaps, however there are several factor you must consider.

  • Who is your target audience? Business owners pick the celebrities they idolize, but you want your spokesperson to appeal to your target demographic, not you. If your product(s) are for middle-aged women, is it appropriate to work with young, male athletes? If you are selling to an upscale, sophisticated audience should you pay a twenty-something radio jock to represent you?

  • Does this celebrity embody the product and the lifestyle of your brand? If the person you chose does not have a natural need for what you are selling, they cannot authentically pitch the strengths of your brand.

  • Is the person a new celebrity or are they a proven entity? In other words, are you taking a gamble with your company’s marketing dollars that they will be popular in the long run?

  • What kind of morals and values does this person have? You need to feel comfortable that the person representing your brand is solid even when the cameras are not rolling. Do not chose someone if you are not confident that they will stay in the press for their good deeds and out of the news for their bad choices.

Unfortunately I’ve witnessed too many local and national celebrities who have been paid well to promote a brand only hurt the company image in the end. Tiger Woods and Nike, Lance Armstrong and Trek even Brett Favre had several local sponsorships that were quickly severed when he parted ways with the Green Bay Packers.

Instead of paying for a celebrity that may not be relevant in a year, month or even next week, find a loyal customer that embodies your brand values. Ask him/her to represent your company. The average customer will relate to them better, believe their motives for using the product and trust their opinion.

In the Fox Cities, Community First Credit Union has experienced tremendous success using this approach and local healthcare organizations like Affinity and Ministry have relied on their patients to tell their story of personalized care. Save the big bucks for the campaign so you can spend your money making sure consumers see your product in the ads and not just the white smile of today’s newest celebrity.

As a consumer, how do you react to advertising using celebrity endorsers vs. real customers? As a marketer, how has your success differed after working with celebrities to promote your brand compared to real customers?

Written by

Niki Petit

Director of Business Development

Niki brings a strong background in business, radio and media negotiation, as well as practical marketing savvy, to her account management role. Clients rely on Niki for an honest assessment of their needs and expert strategic direction. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, her never-ending drive and commitment to her clients makes her a leader and an integral part of Insight’s success.

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