Something Smells Fishy: Why Celebrity Endorsement Can Ruin Your brand

Something Smells Fishy: Why Celebrity Endorsement Can Ruin Your brand
SHARE
THIS



OMD’s Lucinda Burgemeister looks at Eva Longoria’s Dine cat food ads and asks why some celebrity endorsements backfire.

In the ad, Eva Longoria is prancing around sans pants eloquently purring ‘my passion, my cat, my choice’ whilst feeding her four legged comrade; makes you wish you looked that sexy while dishing up fishy chunks to your cat, doesn’t it?

Put simply, the marketing assumption behind this incongruous celeb-brand pairing is that we’re: 1) seduced by Eva’s passion for her feline relationship and 2) want that same adoration for our kitty, who clearly deserves nothing less than Dine too. Unfortunately for the actress, she slipped up and admitted she doesn’t even own a pet cat, woops! So how can we trust Dine? Eva isn’t ‘passionate’ enough to have a cat. Even worse, feline-free Longoria is on PETA’s hit list for wearing fur, ruining much of her credibility of being an animal-loving poster girl.

What seemed like such a simple formula for marketers – high profile celebrity + ubiquitous product plugging = huge profitability and brand affiliation – perhaps is no longer a sounded strategy and instead a potential minefield with minimal tangible benefit.

In the era of social media, consumers’ relationship with traditional media is ever-changing; so are we still willing to trust our favourite star’s choice of coconut water or latest diet supplement? It’s time for marketing departments to weigh up the true value of celebrity endorsement and whether quite simply, this antiquated model is, over-exposing the already overexposed.

Tiger Woods is a textbook case; at the height of his popularity he was endorsing over ten companies at once. When Tiger’s public image crumbled following his infidelity scandal in 2009, Gillette, Accenture and Gatorade were a few of the many brands to swiftly capitulate and dump the troubled golfer. They were paying top dollar to essentially have Tiger personify the image of their company; not so much anymore when he’s embroiled in numerous sex allegations.

As it turns out, the proverbial expression ‘any publicity is good publicity’ isn’t always such a solid argument. According to Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 endorsement ratings list, Tiger’s income fell to $54.5 million in 2011 from a whopping $105 million in 2007. Sure you could say Tiger’s credibility as the wholesome family man we knew and loved was instantly compromised, but if anything it begs the question – was Tiger really willing to endorse just about anything to make a quick buck? In juggling his many endorsements for multiple companies, Tiger was already overexposed and ironically devalued those brands by spreading himself too thin as a product-peddling player. Did Gillette or Gatorade have a contingency plan intact prior to the fall out? Probably not.

In the event that a brand-celeb pairing suddenly sours, consumers can lose faith in reputable brands pretty quickly. Increasingly, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are making us feel a stronger and more personal connection to our favourite celebs – they’re just like us, they eat take-out, get drunk and occasionally get caught out doing stupid things; they’re only human, right? We can forgive. However brand confidence is hard to repair in an already competitive marketplace. Consumers are also getting smarter, they’re not so quick to believe in every celebrity endorsement, paid tweet or sponsored product placement especially when celeb-product marriages can be falsified.

I’m still upset at Dine for lying to me, Eva seemed so genuine endorsing processed meat for her imaginary kitty; so I think I’ll stick to Whiskas, thanks. Then again, perhaps our culture’s obsession with celebrities wants to overlook the authenticity of advertisements like this; but is it worth taking the risk and damaging your brand reputation? It’s an expensive gamble and don’t get me wrong, it does have the potential to work.

Celebrity endorsements allow products to stand out from surrounding clutter, enhance brand recall and can be leveraged across multi-channel experiences. Top athletes, performers and Hollywood heavyweights are extensively emulated by the average consumer. So there’s a good chance we’ll buy Pepsi because let’s face it, Beyoncé is the queen of cool. But getting back to that seesawing equilibrium, social networks are uncovering more truths than ever about our favourite celebs, the incessant of celebrity gossip is 24/7.

CMOs take note, this type of marketing is unceasingly more transparent, amplifying that potential minefield; so it’s probably not worth dropping a few thousand to get that tweet out. But then again, who am I to say George Clooney isn’t really sipping his morning cuppa of Nespresso or Jessica Simpson lathering on budget skincare products? I’ll leave that decision up to you smart media folk, maybe I’m just bitter at feline-free Eva.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston

We've got an absolute cracking Women in Media profile today. Not to say it's approved by the Chiropractors' Association.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Malcolm Turnbull Lodges New Complaint Over ABC’s Emma Alberici
  • Media

Malcolm Turnbull Lodges New Complaint Over ABC’s Emma Alberici

The ABC’s chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici’s reporting has again caught the ire of the Turnbull government for alleged inaccuracies. Malcolm Turnbull has raised 11 grievances in a letter sent to the ABC on May 7 in relation to a recent Alberici television story about the federal government’s research and innovation spending. It follows another complaint in early April about Alberici’s […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor
  • Marketing

Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor

B&T was going to insert a homage to Sherbert's classic "Howzat" here before realising it was naff and showed our age.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account
  • Media

PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account

ICYMI, PHD has FTW the HSBC business IRL. It's not so much a LOL or NSFW, but a TL;DR. Ahh, forget the whole thing.

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition
  • Media

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition

Customer experience (CX) intelligence platform, InMoment, has expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of customer experience agency, brandXP and appointment of Claire Fastier as its APAC business head.

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now
  • Opinion

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology. From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance
  • Advertising
  • Media

SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance

Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has announced the launch of an online resource library for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The library can be found on the company’s website and is part of a wider educational initiative by SpotX – which is headquartered in the US and has an office in […]

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert
  • Marketing

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert

Integrated communications firm Daylight Agency has cemented its presence in the government and political arena with the appointment of industry veteran David Begg. A practising solicitor for over 28 years, Begg (pictured above) will head up the agency’s new government division. He has extensive experience working with large commercial clients on high-profile regulatory and legal […]

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland
  • Marketing

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland

Frost Design has shown off its comprehensive rebrand of iconic Australian infrastructure and property business John Holland, based around the brand idea of ‘Transforming Lives’. John Holland CEO Joe Barr said Frost was the only branding business who understood that the impact of the rebrand was just as important internally as it would be externally, […]

First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama Dance Together at the Presidents Ball
  • Media

Netflix Secures Producer Deal With The Obamas

It seems former US president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama aren’t quite done with the international spotlight just yet. The Obamas have officially signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will see the power couple producing films and series with the streaming giant. According to Netflix, “The Obamas will produce a diverse […]

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad
  • Opinion

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad

One need only view our editor's hot pink leg warmers today to realise he's neither fad nor trend.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content
  • Opinion

Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content

And why is B&T running a photo of an engaged couple for this content engagement article? It was either that or a carrot.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles
  • Media

Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles

Fairfax Media has today announced the recruitment of 20 trainee journalists to join the newsrooms of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times and WAtoday. This represents one of Metro’s largest trainee intakes in years and underlines the commitment of the mastheads to fostering a new generation […]

Sydney Australia - November 7, 2011. An extreme close up of an American express card issued by the Australian bank Westpac.
  • Media

AMEX Launches Global Media Review

Are there not enough hours in the day? Are you cheek-by-jowl with your co-workers? Well, hopefully you won't win this.

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic

Sydney Water has pioneered a way to create records from marine plastics and, in doing so, encourage more people to join the movement of local clean-up groups rolling up their sleeves every weekend to clean plastics, litter and other pollutants from the city’s beaches and waterways. Plastics are collected by volunteers, then cut in pieces […]

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing

Aussie credit card comparison site Credit Card Compare has announced the appointment of Caroline Raffan as its inaugural head of marketing. Raffan (pictured above) has over 10 years’ experience in brand strategy, campaign development, digital marketing, events, public relations, content creation, market research, advertising, stakeholder management, social media marketing, and project management. She joins Credit […]

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine

In this opinion piece, Phil Murrell (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, argues that programmatic ad spend needs to move up the branding funnel. When I started in digital advertising way back in 2004, we got our media insertion orders via the fax machine. We relied on that machine to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis
  • Media

An Apology To Salmat’s Karen Lewis

Whoops! B&T's stuffed up and this certainly comes with our sincerest apologies for any offence caused.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adland Execs To Be Locked Up
  • Media

Adland Execs To Be Locked Up

Continuing adland's fascination with prison when it comes to charitable causes comes this latest trip to the slammer.

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners

Now in its second year, the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program announced its next round of eight mentoree recipients. The winners were announced at a special event held last night at FINCH, Sydney and attended by members of the screen and advertising industries. Acclaimed director, and ADG President, Samantha Lang, […]

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD

One need only look at the Cadbury Favourites chocolate selection to know it has nought to do with industry diversity.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour
  • Media

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour

Eyeota, the global leader in audience data, has today released its latest results on automotive purchase intentions in Australia. The results provide a deep dive into what motivates the buyer and segments those into six different personas.

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA
  • Marketing
  • Media

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA

AANA's annual Christmas dinner and dance got a teensy bit more crowded following this announcement this morning.