Think twice before you choose a national star or local personality to brand your product.
What do a “convicted sex offender, a “porn star”, a sports figure allegedly involved in “dog fighting”, and an “accused murder” have in common? They’re selling your brand as celebrity endorsement people.
Life was good and the price tag huge for these high profile radio personalities, actors, and seven figure sports figures. The radio advertising and TV campaign, print, outdoor, new media and the web campaign were really cooking and your product or services were flying off the shelf. Then…you found out that your superstar was more of a stupidstar and you’re calling damage control, your lawyer and your banker because you get to start from scratch…ouch.
And you don’t have to be a big brand like Nike to get a swift kick in the ad budget when it all comes tumbling down. As a local advertiser the black eye will take just as long to heal, but your ad budget to repair your image will run out long before fixes the problem.
Here’s another “gee, we really screwed up this time”. Here in Houston, everybody thought Enron Field was a cool idea until that glass house, Enron, came tumbling down. Funny, but I still like the original ring of “The Ballpark at Union Station” but with the trend of corporate tie-ins, I guess we just have to get used to Minute Maid Park.
Don’t let your brand or your judgment be influenced by a pair of rose colored glasses or jock envy. Do your homework, make sure the celebrity “fits” your product and check, double-check and check your gut, because usually that’s the place that will give you the truest perspective on whether you’re on the right track.
By the way, I’m not making this up. Our convicted sex offender was a local radio personality, our porn star was the star in a TV commercial for a family oriented radio station, the alleged dogfighter was of course Nike endorsee Michael Vick, and do the letters O.J. mean anything to you?
Of course, it’s nearly impossible to predict scenarios such as Vick, O.J., etc. But do as much homework as possible. Don’t be afraid to test the water by considering a celebrity endorsement, but make sure they fit your product and your brand’s integrity like a…glove. Oh…bad example.