Things To Consider When Working With A Celebrity — Risky Or Rewarding?


Rosemary Stein, VP from our Chicago office, wrote this piece for MK on what to consider when you want to run a promotion that involves a celebrity.

working with a celebrity: risks and rewardsThere are advantages and disadvantages to using celebrities in your promotions. Athletes, actors and musicians can influence purchase especially when they align themselves with a product that is relevant to the brand’s target demographic. Very popular celebs can appeal to a broader audience and increase brand awareness. When using specific real-people endorsements it is preferable to tie professional competence to character or quality of product; an endorsement by a NASCAR driver for tires is more relevant than a driver endorsing soup. Nike has a successful relationship with athletes because they are actually involved in the designing and development of their products so even if these celebs do go astray in their social behavior, their athletic competence connection will remain.

We all know that humans make mistakes. Recent headlines involving celebrity scandals reveal that there are risks involved: Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby, and Justin Bieber, to name a few. If the level of transgression is high, negative repercussions will most likely be high too. Social media can provide instant feedback on how well your company is able to withstand the scandal.

Once you have taken into consideration both the rewards and risks and how well you think a particular person will help you to achieve your brand objectives and goals, you will need to determine a budget.

Some key things to consider are:

Duration and type of service: personal appearance(s), venues, production (commercials), social media posts, contest judging, photo opportunities, geographic restrictions and scheduling/rescheduling options are all points to be negotiated as part of the services – don’t assume that a celebrity will be available for all of these things.

Usage Permissions: product and service category exclusivity timing, media now known or hereafter devised. Team, league and record label permissions, and rights to music and television/film programming. The more usage you ask for, the higher the fee.

Compensation and travel reimbursement: air, ground, hotel, and incidentals are all expected to be paid, on top of a hefty fee.

As an alternative to the “human” endorsement you may want to consider that many celebrities from the animal kingdom don’t pose the risk of violating a morals clause. Morris the cat, the Budweiser Clydesdales and the Aflac duck are appealing and memorable. They might incur travel, appearance and lodging expenses though. For a really safe option, you could also create characters or icons like the Jolly Green Giant, Chester Cheetah, M&M’s mascots and the Energizer Bunny. They never age and you can always update them.

To get help on finding the right celebrity spokesperson for your next promotion, contact us.

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