Posts Tagged ‘celebrity’

Which brands won at the Oscars?

March 7, 2014

Sure, everyone loves a good awards show.  Glitter, glamour, gowns, and stumbling celebrities make for great theater.  And while the nation (world?) tuned in, there were a few brands that deserve special recognition for making of the most of their exposure:

  1. Best Intentional Product Placement: Samsung
    Samsung takes home the prize for what’s been dubbed “the selfie seen around the world.”  Host Ellen DeGeneres set social media on fire when she whipped out a white Samsung Galaxy, grabbed some pals, and took a selfie with Hollywood’s hottest stars.

    What a spontaneous coup for Samsung, right?  But the plot twist is a familiar one: Samsung paid big sponsorship dollars for product placement through the evening, and the selfie was a smoothly executed part of the plan.  Yes, we’ve seen that one before, but high marks for execution and follow through.  Bravo.

  2. Best Surprise Product Placement: Big Mamas & Papas Pizzeria

    Big Mamas & Papas Pizzeria scored an unexpected on-air win when Ellen called on them for a celebrity delivery.  They knew they’d be tapped for backstage hunger pangs, but didn’t realize their pizza would be shared with the A list.  According to NBC Los Angeles, “The restaurant didn’t spend a dime on the stunt and received advertising for free, all thanks to DeGeneres’ desire to feed her celebrity family.”

    The store is now trying to capitalize on their Oscar appearance by selling their apparel right on the homepage.  Can they roll the momentum into a sequel?

  3. Best Unintentional Product Placement: Coca Cola
    Coke doesn’t necessarily deserve free advertising, but they got it when their logo appeared on those surprise pizza boxes.  See?  Stay loyal to Main Street and reap the benefits.

    Having the brand splashed on camera (and all over social media) was made sweeter by the fact that Coke yielded its traditional Oscar sponsorship to Pepsi this year.

  4. Most consistent brand to take 2nd place: Pepsi
    Ah, Pepsi.  Will you ever win?  Or are you destined to spend blockbuster dollars, only to yield the spotlight.  Perhaps Leo should take over as official Pepsi spokesperson.  Yeah, I went there.

Stay classy, Hollywood…until next year!

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Celebrity or No Celebrity? That Is the Question

October 25, 2013

When brands decide to bring in a spokesperson, it is usually to encourage audience connectivity with a human being who is well known, liked, and respected.  But it’s no small decision; a spokesperson or celebrity endorser can make or break your brand’s reputation due to the ever-changing public opinion of mainstream celebrities.  When advertisers are tasked with advising clients on celebrity partnerships, we tell them, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Advertisers are motivated to hire celebrity endorsers in order to increase their sales, and it usually works.  If consumers LIKE the celebrity, then they’ll surely like the brand that he or she endorses, right?   However, likability can have a shelf -life, and public errors can undoubtedly impact a celebrity in a negative way, so It is difficult for advertisers to pick celebrities that will help the brand and keep a squeaky-clean image.

When choosing a celebrity endorser, it’s important to be sure there is a connection between the brand and consumer .  We ask our clients if they would like to choose an athlete, a singer, a politician, or a local media sensation to represent their products and services.    Regardless of who is chosen, we have to make sure that the audience connects and sales are made. If there is no connection, then sales are at risk to plummet.

As an Advertising Coordinator at EZG, I have learned that there are 3 things to keep in mind when it comes to successfully pursuing a celebrity spokesperson. Adhering to these 3 rules can dictate a campaign’ success or demise.

  1. Be mindful of warning signs. There is always risk involved in choosing a celebrity to endorse your product. Believe it or not, celebrities are human just like you and me (stars – they’re just like us!), and they make mistakes, say the wrong things, or have public outrages and when that happens, an organization’s brand can be fundamentally hurt. The best way to try and avoid this is to make sure you do your due diligence and watch out for warning signs. A classic example is the partnership between Michael Vick and Nike.  Before signing with Nike, Michael Vick exhibited behavior that should have sent up bright red warning signs. He was known for unsportsmanlike conduct and had previously gotten in trouble with substance abuse– both key signs that he was not going to be a good fit for Nike’s wildly popular brand. After Michael Vick was charged with acts of cruelty towards animals, Nike‘s press team had to scramble to cover their tracks and make sure that they were no longer associated with him. They had a tough time convincing the consumer that their brand did not agree with what Vick had done, because consumers had a difficult time separating Nike the brand with Michael Vick the person.
  2. The person or celebrity must be accepted by target audiences: A good example of a celebrity endorsement is John Stamos for Oikos Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt has become a big fad, and there are many brands competing with Oikos for the lion’s share of the market (like Chiobani). In order to differentiate their brand from the competition, Oikos brought in John Stamos to swoon audiences — because everyone trusts Uncle Jesse. Not only is John Stamos Greek and very attractive, but target audience grew up watching him on television (what child born in the 80’s didn’t watch Full House?).  Check out John in action in this Oikos commercial:
  3. The celebrity should bridge trust with consumers: Let’s face it, no matter how well-known the celebrity is, an audience won’t react positively to a brand represented by an individual who appears untrustworthy.  But, when brands DO pick a trustworthy celebrity with star power the results can be very effective.   A great example is Sofia Vergara and Diet Pepsi. Vergara was a good choice because she tends to really connect with her fans with her outgoing personality and perfect smile.  Additionally, she has not had any negative interactions with the media and has a real likability about her.  The Diet Pepsi commercial clip featuring Sofia Vergara (below) shows how advertisers highlight her beauty and vivacious personality to associate their brand with her endearing qualities. This is a smart advertising move for Diet Pepsi since it draws attention from her fans and Diet Pepsi will inevitably be associated with someone who has won America over.

John Stamos and Sofia Vergara have produced great results for their brands, but not any spokesperson works for any brand.  I would tell clients to pick someone who connects with the brand and the audience and make sure the celebrity endorsement makes sense. The brand always needs to be enhanced in a positive way, whether it’s giving the product/service  more credibility or just helping the brand to become more well-known within the market place – quality brands deserve quality celebrity representatives.

London Calling: Summer Olympics Begging for Marketing

April 26, 2012

Dan Vs. Dave = Dud

Summer Olympics send my family aflutter – not just to watch strangers compete for glory, but because my uncle is usually there.  Jeff Huber, Indiana diving coach and 11-time National Coach of the Year, is seeking his fourth and possibly final coaching bid at the 2012 London Olympics.

But who is the rest of the country getting excited for? Marketing hasn’t told us yet.  America’s modern branding campaigns build the popularity of the Olympians who will boost sales, all while instilling sentiments of patriotism, bravery and triumph into our hearts.

So far, not much ad buzz for London 2012.  With an event plagued early with controversies over security, bribery – the measles (!) – marketers are still seeking a gold medal movement. And they’ll surely capitalize on this being the “First Social Games,” thanks to the prevalence social media will have amongst athletes, sponsors and fans.

Will branding campaigns rally behind the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, who narrowly lost the World Cup after last year’s captivating competition?  Call me biased as a big fan, but I hope so.

In 1988, Coca-Cola’s Olympic campaign featured athletes forging international friendships over glasses of Coca-Cola Classic before the Calgary Winter games.  Reebok’s 1992 “Dan & Dave” effort, meant to stir excitement for competition between American decathletes at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, aired as early as the SuperBowl (O’Brien later failed to qualify).  And who could forget the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, when the build-up to Michael Phelps’ races sent us cheering in our living rooms when he blasted away medal records.

Kellogg’s, Budweiser and other brands have latched on to the games’ popularity by plastering past and present Olympians on their products.  But aside from these, and NBC’s ads  begging encouraging viewers to watch, the marketing buzz has not made much of a splash.

While we await for the marketing-appointed heroes to rise, let’s join the London Olympics 2012 Twitter page and wait to be wow-ed.  I’ll quietly hold out for one long-shot bet – my uncle Jeff.

Celebrity Endorsements and Brand Management – the good, the bad and the ugly

October 14, 2010

Recently, I’ve been having some fun thinking about celebrity endorsements. In a January 2010 article, Forbes ranked the 10 celebrities Americans trust most. Among them:  James Earl Jones, Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox, Morgan Freeman, Sally Field, Ron Howard, Will Smith and Denzel Washington. It’s true, I’m buying what they’re selling – there’s no way Morgan Freeman’s mellow brown eyes would lie to me.

But it got me thinking. These actors/celebrities have spent their careers building respectable, wholesome reputations, lending themselves to natural credibility. What happens when a brand’s chosen face or voice is a little less “saintly,” and missteps in full view of the public eye?

Celebrity endorsements aren’t new to marketers; however, in light of viral news feeds and the explosion of citizen journalism in recent years, the rules of such endorsements are changing.

With phrases like “endorsement morality clause” getting tossed around, I’m reminded of the precarious nature of celebrity endorsements. Don’t get me wrong, I think they can be brilliantly effective. But like any stunning firecracker, they also have the potential to blow up in your face.

Examine first what I see as a great pairing: the official union of rapper Jay-Z and baseball powerhouse the New York Yankees. For a limited time, prior to the September concert he would perform at Yankee Stadium, Jay-Z and the NYY sold co-branded merchandise, available exclusively in the House That Ruth Built. (more…)


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