By: Kelsey Malvey
This week in lecture, our guest speaker, Pinky Gonzales came to speak with the class about brands and celebrity endorsements. He discussed the three different options companies have when developing their brand. These included endorsements, sponsorship, and licensing. All three of these options have their negatives and positives, but Gonzales explained that these are essential when trying to promote and create a well-known brand and reputation. When sitting in lecture, one of the options that really stood out to me was endorsement. Gonzales explained that endorsements say, “You like me. I like this. Like this and you like me.”
It is well known that companies use celebrities to endorse their brand and products, which in theory is a good idea. People look up to celebrities and see someone they admire associated with a certain product; therefore consumers may be more inclined to buy or use that product.
The use of celebrity endorsement as an advertisement strategy has the potential to be both beneficial and influential for a brand. Examining this type of endorsement from a consumer’s standpoint makes one question the motives of the celebrities who endorse these products. Are they in it for the money, or do they genuinely enjoy the product they promote?
In 1986, Cybill Shepherd, who was a Hollywood star in the Moonlighting alongside Bruce Willis, was hired by the Beef Industry Council to promote their products. Shepherd was hired to encourage the public to buy beef for the “real food for real people” campaign. After Shepherd endorsed the campaign, she admitted to the public that she was a vegetarian; therefore she did not eat meat.
The Beef Industry Council chose Shepherd as their spokesperson for their campaign because she was a successful women icon in Hollywood. The company knew if consumers saw the personality of the brand through Shepherd’s promotions, it would produce a more positive impression on consumers and an increased potential for sales. However, since Shepherd was asked to promote a product that did not fit within her own personal brand, the campaign ended up being misleading and confusing for consumers. This is a perfect example of what a company should avoid when endorsing products.
There have been many other instances where the use of celebrities has hurt the reputation of companies.
When companies use celebrities to endorse their products they need to think of individuals that fit within the brand and its personality. This can be seen with Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, who endorses Vitamin Water. When done correctly, this form of endorsement can have a very positive effect on the company, such as increased brand recognition and brand exposure.
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