If It Makes You Happy, Pitch It

Discussion
Dec 04, 2006

By George Anderson


She’s already provided the soundtrack for Subaru as its vehicles motor down the winding road every day. Now, Sheryl Crow is putting her star power to work for Revlon in a national advertising campaign for the company’s new Colorist line of premium hair color products launching in January.


“We are thrilled to have Sheryl represent Revlon Colorist,” Debra Dowd, vice president of marketing for Revlon’s hair business, said in a press release. “Sheryl is an empowering woman who brings a sense of real glamour that is relatable. She has an ability to inspire people through her music, and her commitment to women’s needs makes this a great partnership.”


Ms. Crow will appear in an integrated campaign that includes television, print, in-store and online communications. Revlon announced that it would work with Ms. Crow on a number of breast cancer initiatives. The singer and songwriter was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent successful surgery and treatment earlier this year.


Discussion Questions: When, if ever, are celebrity endorsements effective? Which current or former celebrity spokesperson had the greatest impact (positive
or negative) on the company/brand they represented?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "If It Makes You Happy, Pitch It"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ryan Mathews
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Celebrity sells but celebrities are always problematic.

Dan Nelson
Guest
Dan Nelson
15 years 5 months ago

If celebrity endorsements didn’t sell and influence, I doubt big corporations would pay the mega bucks needed to have these celebs pitch their products. There are positive examples, like Michael Jordan and Hanes, Tiger Woods and Buick (although I don’t think even Tiger can change Buick’s fortunes!).

Sheryl hits the mark with Revlon because she is non controversial, an icon in her industry, and a person of indisputable character; much like the athletes listed above.

Of course, there are examples of endorsements that have also had the reverse effect when the celeb’s integrity and character came into question, so choose wisely and hold your breath….Big bucks are at stake in this game of risk vs. reward.

Ken Wyker
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

It’s not the celebrity, it’s the message. There’s some benefit to associating any popular celebrity with your brand, but the real key is to have the endorsement cause consumers to think about your brand in a particular way.

That’s where the Sheryl Crow endorsement really makes sense. There are a lot of women that will buy the products because they can relate to her and what she’s been through. In buying Revlon, customers will get the positive feeling of treating themselves like a star and also of doing something positive to help fight breast cancer.

On the flip side, think of Tiger Woods with Buick…does anyone really think that Tiger would drive a Buick? Does his sponsorship change anyone’s perspective of what a Buick offers or what the company stands for?

Within grocery, Rachel Ray has tremendous appeal because she’s not like most food experts, but IS like most grocery customers.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
15 years 5 months ago

It’s best when the celebrity spokesperson bears some essential relationship to the product and is respected, not merely famous. For this reason Michael Jordan was perfect for Nike and vice versa. Going back a few years, another near perfect marriage of product and personality was June Allyson for Depends. Not everyone remembered June Allyson from her Hollywood days, but the senior demographic that Depends was seeking to reach DID remember. They knew that June Allyson was their age and had been both the classy “girl next door” and a WWII era “hottie.” The fact that someone such as she was also growing older and was willing to discuss it made it easier for people to decide they could use Depends without shame.

Kirstie’s current Jenny Craig campaign is also working because Kirstie was fat and now she isn’t. There’s a truth and vulnerability to the ads that people respect.

Robert Leppan
Guest
Robert Leppan
15 years 5 months ago

I’m in the camp of other “BrainTrusters” who say that celebrity endorsers/spokespeople can be very effective, IF (and it’s a big if):
1) It’s the “right” celeb (relevant & linked to brand or service)
2)Timing is good – celeb well-known with public and still capable of generating “buzz”
3) Marketer is prepared to invest sufficient $ to leverage product or service association through fully-integrated marketing campaign
4)It’s a new brand/service that can benefit from awareness & credibility of hitching on to celebrity star-power. Celebrity endorsements can be effective (e.g. Cosby with Jell-0 or Michael Jordan for Hanes). But the connection can quickly go South if the celebrity has a problem. Not to mention the fact that the egos are huge and largely uncontrollable. I prefer the animal approach — the Aflac duck, the Geico Gecko — intrusive, funny, under control both on and off camera.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

It’s a roll of the dice. For every great story, there’s a disaster. I have a friend who was a lawyer at Pepsi and she was rolling out of bed at 2 a.m. fairly often undoing the crisis du jour spurred by Madonna.

Ben Ball
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Being part of the Pepsico marketing organization in the 80s/90s provided a fair amount of exposure to celebrity marketing, regardless of whether it was in beverages, snack foods or restaurants. We all used them at one time or another. And the major lessons in celebrity marketing I took away were:

1) there has to be relevance between the celebrity and either the product or the target audience — and preferably both. Michael Jordan for Nike and Bob Dole for Viagra are equally good examples of this. Bob Dylan for Victoria’s Secret????

2) when you hitch your brand image to a star you take on all the risks of human foible — and the press won’t let you forget it even if your consumers will. There are people who still associate Pepsi (negatively) with Michael Jackson.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago
As Dan says, obviously brandowners are believers otherwise they wouldn’t keep using celebrities. The question could just as easily be, when don’t celebrity endorsements work? IF the celebrity is matched to the right product AND the right audience, it’s a no-brainer. I don’t know how many of you have seen ads with Kate Moss or know about her alleged drug taking and that she initially lost several lucrative contracts when the story went public but she has now got even more highly paid contracts than ever and appears to be universally loved by media and advertisers. So presumably people buy what she has her name and body splashed all over. Same thing goes for anyone who is perceived as having something or liking something to which we plebs might aspire. Ethics (famous footballers endorsing junk food, for example) and “private” lives don’t really count when it comes to selling. Even when staff do have to roll out of bed at 3 a.m. for damage control, the very fact that they do it (or are expected… Read more »
George Anderson
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

You mean the talking Gecko isn’t real? Okay, I’ve been caught. Just goofing around on that one. ;0)

James Tenser
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Dealing with sometimes mercurial celebrities may be tricky at times, but the marketing practice of endorsement clearly pays off overall, or brands would not continue to engage. From my perspective, endorsers with natural ties to a product make more sense than those appearing to be random. So Michael Jordan endorsing basketball shoes or Emeril Lagasse endorsing cookware works from the perspective of the endorser having subject matter expertise. Tiger Woods endorsing Buick seems less natural (but that deal appears to have worked too).

When a glamorous or prominent woman like Sheryl Crow has her name and likeness associated with beauty products, it’s not her know-how that’s being leveraged, it’s her aura and life story. At least one can say that the use of cosmetics is of professional importance to her.

Mike Diefenbach
Guest
Mike Diefenbach
15 years 5 months ago

Like so much else in marketing and promotion, there’s as much art as science in this celebrity spokesperson issue. Guidelines are, indeed, helpful, but often it’s intangibles that make their use truly effective or not.

I would add James Earl Jones to the “Hit List.” He was the voice — and the face — for Bell Atlantic Mobile, and even survived, nay, thrived in the name switch to Verizon.

JEJ had it all — authority, respectability, likability, and a booming, masculine voice with crystal clear diction. Who would disbelieve a guy like him, and who wouldn’t want to communicate with his conviction and clarity?

Don’t know why they aren’t using him now. Could have been his age, his health, or perhaps he simply didn’t need their money anymore!

“Gecko for Geico?” Doesn’t that belong in another list?…one for animated/fictitious characters created to represent brands? (See how confusing and murky these issues can get?….)

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Marketing Evaluations, Inc. has been researching celebrity standing for advertisers for many years. See http://www.qscores.com

They rate and compare the value of live celebrities, dead celebrities, and cartoon characters. Of course, the cartoons characters and the dead celebs have less risk than live people. One giant issue: the fee. Some endorsers are so expensive that they’re not worthwhile, in spite of their standing.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 5 months ago

A celebrity, animated or human, has to be perceived
as one who would use the product, and as one you, the consumer,
would relate to emotionally or realistically.

Ms. Crow, like others, has had the past exposure in her
music field and is seen as a “no b.s.” type of person.
She also has the right appearance to pitch certain brands. You definitely would not have her in a baking commercial
or household cleaning product spot.

Like M.J., he was perfect for Nike, and Nike for M.J.

Business grows. Then, celebrities are warranted. Hmmmmmmm

David Reed
Guest
David Reed
15 years 5 months ago

I was a little surprised to see Tiger Woods missing from this list. It is my understanding that he is (by far) the highest paid professional athlete doing endorsements these days. It must work for Nike, Amex, Buick, etc. I voted for other.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Which celebrity do you think was most effective for the brand they pitched?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...