The beauty face of a magazine. The new face of Absolut. The who in shoes.

Brands do not speak entirely for and of themselves anymore. Using celebrities from major walks of life to promote their product is common and to some brands, necessary; especially for cosmetic and luxurious retail brands.

Is the celebrity selling the brand or is the brand selling the celebrity?

Either ways, perhaps. One piggy back one another – whatever the reasons, celebrities can and do play a part in building brands. Making the right decision of choices in selecting the ideal personality, values, associated emotions and code of conduct in co-relation to brands is important, vital and critical. The wrong choice is effectively hazardous.

During the early days in the 1990’s, Kate Moss was the luxe face and icon of Calvin Klein. Her sunken face and skinny structure were the ideal look during that decade. “Kate has practically become a staple in Calvin Klein ads, such as those for fragrances Obsession, CK Be and CK One.’ That anorexic and druggy look boosted the sales of Calvin Klein until one day, that druggy look become more of a description of habit rather than mere description of words.

“Mostly known for her unhealthy image (her thin figure is what started the waif look and she is known as a heavy smoker), Kate checked into the Priory Clinic, in order to kick her heavy drug and alcohol habit,” reported a celebrity portal source.

What happened to Calvin Klein now that its own legend and icon is tarnished with a negative rock and roll impression? Look for a new face. But the whole connection between these two entities remain as a unity in memories.

According to leading management thinker Dr Seamus Phan, “Many celebrity endorsements fail because they identify a celebrity they like in an emotive and un-researched manner, and then try to create advertising to force-fit the celebrity into the creative concept. Often, the finished advertising is at best contrived, and often, simply laughable. In the end, the brand suffers from a mismatched concept and celebrity, and millions of dollars are flushed away. If this company is publicly listed, imagine the disservice the company has done for its shareholders.”

Celebrity endorsement… Make or break the reputation and image of brands? Credibility or tragedy?

How far can you push it? Credibility of craft and talent or good looks and fame? “Research conducted by Bates in India that tracked consumer opinion on the ‘relevance and effectiveness of celebrity advertising in building brands’, urged brands to ‘de-celebritise’ and focus on ideas.

Concluding that ideas, and not celebrities, build brands, the study identified the optimum celebrity ‘fits’ and the cases where celebrities overshadowed brand-building performance”, continued Gary Harwood, author of Do celebrity endorsements build brands? This study proved that consumers are not stupid or for a better word, naive. Consumers are able to identify a distinctive difference between clever script writing, a good brand concept, and a mere pretty familiar face.

“The important thing to remember is that putting a celebrity in an ad is not an idea in itself.”

While an ad campaign reflects the brand (let’s take sports endorsement for an example), will the outcome of a match played between celebrity sportsman and rival be the cause of the brand’s downfall should celebrity lose?

Will this affect the brand or is the celebrity too much of a brand connection already? Will brands ditch him when celebrity loses his magic touch and opt for the new winner that beat the previous iconic face of the brand?

Unethical act but realistically speaking, will the brand opt for such vices just to maintain sales value?

Signing up stars has been effectively used by some of the international big brands such as Adidas, Coke, Hugo Boss, Pepsi, etc, and when he becomes a life-long endorsement to a brand, what is going to happen to product… when the representation of brand gets sick? Or dies?

Magic Johnson was reported to have lost his endorsement deals after he announced that he’s HIV-positive back in 1991. And it wasn’t until in mid-July 12 years later that he secured his next endorsement deal.

Should a brand piggyback on the identity of a celebrity and hope to achieve escalating sales, or should a brand solely sell base on its own strong and domineering identity in the league of their own and especially others?

Either ways, it works, really.

Written for Design TAXI


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A Husband and Wife duo who run an independent online and social media business. Our passion is Inbound Marketing - combining Creative Writing and Digital Marketing Strategy - for medical aesthetics, design, advertising, fitness, medical, and lifestyle industries. Talk to us at we.are at biancazenkees.com. Thank you for reading! :)


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