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Celebrity Endorsement:

When Things Go Wrong

As companies, we should be aware of the celebrities that we use to endorse our various products and services. This is because this method is good in trying to attract many people for brand awareness and recall purposes. However, it sure has some negative aspects attached to it when done wrong. It is a fact that this marketing strategy to get people’s attention on the market is as old as time. We all have to agree there is nothing that beats the splendor given to your product when it is endorsed by a well-known celebrity who holds the hearts of many people in the palm of his or her hands. There is this fascinating aura that surrounds the celebrities that in the eyes of their huge fan base, such that they see no wrong in them. It is as if they are enveloped in a bright halo over their heads of only doing good which sometimes is not the case. Indeed, when a company finds itself in a tricky and sticky situation like that then it’s adequate to say celebrity endorsement has gone wrong.

This article hereby wants to give fundamental pointers that the marketing team should consider before they rope in, on board these celebrities. I am a big fan of various celebrities in different lines of work be it singers, athletes or models. At the same time l am a marketer as well so l definitely know how it can be a disaster when both these worlds collide for a company. This might cause what is not known by many, which goes by the name the vampire effect or the hired gun problem. Now, these two are the downsides to celebrity endorsement because they do not work out for the benefit of the brand. Instead they work against our marketing efforts. In the same vein, they worsen the situation and all the hard work put in by everyone will look as if it had been all in vain, especially the vampire effect, which to me is the most serious amongst the two.

You might be wondering what exactly the vampire effect is, because some of you might presume l am talking about Count Dracula in the horror blood sucking movie, of which l am not, but the elements of sucking the blood out of the advert is drawn from this ghoulish scenario. When the vampire effect occurs, the celebrity will in other words have “over shadowed” the product that he or she is advertising. The attention will now all be zeroed in on the celebrity, outshining the product and the initial purpose of the advert. Thus, in a way, celebrity endorsement would have overshadowed our brand image thereby defeating the whole purpose of using him/her on our adverts. This is happening on many countless occasions and the sales of the product or service will even drop or remain constant whilst the popularity of the celebrity however continues to grow. Sometimes, it is not the fault of these celebrities, but the marketing team itself in calling on board people such as these. Fortunately enough, after looking at these drawbacks of celebrity endorsement, l will tackle some tips which the marketing teams can look into so that they put everything into perspective over which next steps to take. For the example of the vampire effect sucking the life blood out of the product or service and all the focus or should l say spotlight remaining on the celebrity, dazzling and boggling the minds of the customers and resulting in them not paying much attention to the brand itself; your plan of action will have back fired. You now have to do some quick thinking and put contingency plans in action, going back to the drawing board and seeing how you can rectify this little problem. Additionally, if that celebrity is embroiled in some nasty business that bad publicity might affect your brand by association thus affecting your sales. This is why some brands end up revoking their contracts with these celebrities, like what happened with Mike Tyson who sullied Pepsi’s name. Similarly, other celebrities like Muhammad Ali and even Robert Kelly (R-Kelly) were also caught up in nasty debacles.

Unlike the vampire effect, the hired gun problem is when you use a celebrity who is already swamped with many assignments of endorsing different products. Rodger Federer is one such celebrity who was endorsing brands such as Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Lindt, amongst other top brands. This celebrity endorsement will lose effect, because the celebrity is firstly, overused and secondly would be involved in your advisements only for the money, not for the love of the brand itself. This is because it is a common fact that celebrities make quick money out of endorsing brands. Therefore both the vampire effect and the hired gun problem are the downsides to celebrity endorsement, which the marketing team should really think through first before they use these celebrities. The bottomline is that celebrity endorsement is a good strategy in marketing that will have more people, the followers of these celebrities, coming through your doors to buy your products and services; like bees to flowers. Each company’s dream is to increase its market share and have more sales for that alone is a good indication that you are doing something right. Thus when celebrity endorsement goes wrong this will be the beginning of disaster with a capital letter D. To ensure that possible cases of vampire effects and the hired gun effect do not take place, companies should first screen the celebrities they have in mind. The screening process should take into consideration whether the celebrity matches their products and advertisement message? If it is sports related then definitely athletes will be the way to go such as LeBron James or Mohamed Sala. Also athletes can be used for products such as watches or cars, because they help represent time consciousness and speed in that order. Particularly in interpretation, this has a direct link with what they represent to the people, unlike taking an actor to endorse these. After having inferred that the celebrity does fit perfectly with the product/ service the next thing is to ensure that this individual has a low key life style, which is not shady. This is because if you choose celebrities whose names are constantly in the papers for the wrong reason, their reputation might rub off onto your brand and put you in a worse state than you had been before. Another issue to take into mind is, do they have the love for your products? Because, when you are in tandem, they can do the job wholeheartedly with the purpose of wanting to achieve your common goal, unlike if they are just doing it for the big bucks. A good example is of Eva Longoria who endorses L’Oréal products of which she is a beauty queen really into facial cosmetics. At the same time, if possible you should also consider taking upcoming celebrities or low key ones that way the vampire effect issues will be vanquished for good. These are just pointers that the marketing team might want to look deep into before using celebrity endorsement.

Nonetheless, celebrity endorsement is a good way of getting people’s attention to your brand. If it is done right you will revel and marvel in the big returns but if it goes wrong, that becomes a big problem. That said, use celebrities that will do right and good by your brand to ensure it is recalled by your customers and potential ones. Marketing requires quick thinking and acting with the sole purpose of getting more sales and making your name a force to be reckoned with in the market. As a result, do eye-catching adverts by professional celebrities who are serious in their dealings so that at the end of the day, you don’t end up pulling out from using them as the face of your brand like how many companies like Nike did in the case of Tiger Woods over his scandalous extra marital cases, or as with Oscar Pistorius over the murder case of his girlfriend.

As a big fan of celebrity endorsement, the one that is stuck in my mind which l really enjoyed as an individual was that of Lionel Messi when he endorsed the crispy chips, Lays. The advert was spot on for me as he enjoyed the chips through the advert. They used a soccer legend, who has many fans all over the globe over his prowess in the football pitch.  Adding to that, the link with the chips is that whenever we watch sports we would have a drink in hand and some snacks to go by so, there is a strong connection between the celebrity used and the product.

At the same time, from what l know his character is low key, his name hasn’t been necessarily dragged into mud over trivial things. Therefore celebrity endorsement can work for you as if magic if done correctly to the letter.

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