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BizReport : Advertising archives : June 02, 2010

Three tips to choose the right celebrity for your brand

When it comes to scandals, consumers don't care. That is, as long as the scandal is related to the celebrity endorser and not the actual product. According to a recent AdWeek Media and Harris poll of more than 2,000 American consumers nearly three-quarters (74%) say their feelings about a brand do not change based on a celebrity scandal.

by Kristina Knight

harris.jpgOnly about one-fifth (22%) say a celebrity endorser's scandal changed the way they felt about a brand; 5% say they 'feel better' about a brand after a scandal surrounding a celebrity endorser surfaces.

That doesn't mean brands need not pay attention to their celebrity endorsers or potential scandals, though, because the younger the consumer the more apt they are to be influenced by a scandal. Of the consumers over age 55 polled, 81% said a celebrity scandal did not change their feelings about a brand, but 28% of consumers between ages 45 and 54 say they felt badly about a brand because of a scandal. And, Mid-westerners are most likely to change their feeling about a brand because of a celebrity scandal (25%).

Although the poll indicates that brands will likely not feel the effect of celebrity scandals, it is still best to enter the celebrity endorsement waters carefully. Brands need to consider three things before determining that a celebrity endorsement makes financial sense.

First: does the celebrity match the brand? Brand X may want to hire Tiger Woods to hawk incontinence pads, but the fit isn't there. Sure, Tiger is a big name, but the product isn't likely to be used by his age demographic.

Second: is the celebrity a scandal waiting to happen? Consumers may say they aren't influenced by celebrity scandals, but they may be lying to themselves. In addition to considering the celebrity/brand fit, businesses need to consider the history of the celebrity in questions. Because a ton of bad press attached to your name will not be a good thing.

Third: can the celebrity understand your product? Not just be understood when he speaks, but will the celebrity use your product as it is intended. Have you seen the Joe Montana ads for the new Sketchers shoes? His back problems are legendary, so it makes sense for him to wear and endorse shoes to help his back. He can speak to the problem and the solution. Make sure the celebrity you choose can understand how the general public might be affected by your product.

Tags: AdWeek Media, brand endorsement, brand image, celebrity endorsement, celebrity scandal, Harris Poll

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  • What an interesting article. My personal opinion is that companies are asking someone to REPRESENT THEM. It matters who that someone is.

    If New Balance had someone representing them that really did not use their brand, and ended up being a bit of a scandal, I would lose respect for the company.

    I think companies should care who represents them - how can you talk about a product you do not use, unless you are lying.

    Why not hire people who actually use the product. Word of mouth is powerful and not based on appearance or glamor.



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