Celebrity Endorsements

Three Rules For Using Celebrity Endorsements

In March 4, 2015

Why is it that whenever a client suggests using a celebrity endorsement the creative team’s initial reaction is almost always a groan? Perhaps it’s because we feel it’s best to begin with a blank piece of paper. We believe the process should start with finding the best idea, not with finding the best on-camera talent. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen celebrity endorsements go horribly awry, and we’d like to spare ourselves and our clients the agony. Or, knowing that these celebrity endorsements don’t come cheap, maybe there are times we simply feel the money could be better spent elsewhere in promoting the brand.

Obviously, for every example I could site of a celebrity endorsement being used poorly, one could offer up a case when the technique was executed brilliantly. (Of course, we’d all argue over which ones were awesome and which ones were real stinkers.) To better your odds of having your celebrity endorsement fall into the awesome pile, there are a few very basic rules to follow. I’ll list just the three biggies. Try to stick to ‘em. Because the allure of working with a big name can sometimes get in the way of making a rational decision.

  1. Be sure the celebrity is relevant
    How many website urls do you think Danica Patrick had to secure in her lifetime? Has she even had to go out and get a single one on her own? Doubtful, which is why I’ve always found it puzzling that Go Daddy tapped her as the spokesperson for its brand. The person chosen for celebrity endorsements should be closely linked to the product or service in some way. They should be seen as an expert of sorts in the field they are representing.
  2. Be sure the celebrity is believable
    Have you seen the commercial featuring Shaq shoehorned inside of a Buick LaCrosse? Do you think Shaq is really driving around town in such a ride? Personally, I’m not buying it. Oh, sure, there’s probably a signed affidavit stuffed in some filing cabinet at GM in which Mr. O’Neal states, for the record, that he indeed does own and/or drive one of these “roomy” vehicles. But does that make it believable? Even as he’s addressing the camera as he sits crammed behind the wheel, he looks about as comfortable as you or I would be sitting inside our kid’s Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.
  3. Be true
    Celebrity endorsements, as the term suggests, are all about finding a famous individual who actually uses and believes in the product or service. They are endorsing it. So it’s important that they’re credible. Do you believe this person was using the product before the company approached them? We’re they telling their friends, family, teammates about the products prior to becoming an official endorser? Would they stake their reputation on the brand even if they weren’t being paid large sums of money? If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then that’s the kind of person you want for your celebrity endorsement.

Because of the large paychecks our favorite stars get these days, endorsements can often feel somewhat suspect. To get a celebrity endorsement that feels completely genuine, you’d almost have to bust into Hollywood homes or break into professional locker rooms to see what products all the big names use when the cameras aren’t rolling. Now that would be an endorsement!

In fact, that is the beauty of the unpaid endorsement. The spontaneous positive feedback and support of a celeb sans a paycheck is incredibly meaningful. However, it’s also incredibly rare, and not the kind of thing a brand can just go out and muster up. A brand either incites that kind of voluntary support and admiration or it doesn’t. But, oh how lucky for those that do! Because nothing says more about a brand than celebrity endorsers who say it all on their own.

Rick Riley

Mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to blog, don’t blog anything at all.” Okay, that’s not true. In fact, mom never read a single blog, nice or otherwise. But it’s still good advice. So look to me for nice … or at least interesting, relevant or funny. Well, maybe smartass or irreverent or sarcastic, too. But that’s it. If it doesn’t fall into one of those categories, you didn’t hear it from me.


  1. Great delivery. Sound arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  2. fantastic put up, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this
    sector don’t understand this. You must proceed your writing.
    I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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