Celebrity Endorsements Can Help or Hurt Brands


Companies will pay handsomely to celebrities in order to associate their products with the celebrities. Think about all the celebrities seen daily on advertisements. After all, if the product is good enough for someone famous, it’s good enough for us, too. Yet, this practice is fraught with peril – if public opinion about a celebrity and his/her actions are negative or illegal, it certainly impacts the brand’s credibility, as well as the celebrity’s endorsement contracts.

A recent case involves tennis star Maria Sharapova who was banned from competing in tennis for two years after she tested positive for a drug on the banned list. Even though she is banned from tennis, companies including Nike, Head, and Evian are all still maintaining contracts with her. In this case, partly because Sharapova admitted to taking the drugs, albeit without knowledge of the ban, has apologized for the mistake, and companies think her endorsement is still valuable.

Who are the most-liked celebrity endorsers? According to a study by Nielsen Group, the top celebrity is Liam Neeson (for Supercell Game). He is followed by Pierce Brosnan (for Kia), Matthew McConaughey (for Lincoln), Jennifer Garner (for Capital One), and J. K. Simmons (for Farmers Insurance).

Who should endorse your company?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use of celebrities in product promotion and endorsement. Why are celebrities used in promotion?
  2. Divide students into teams: Have each team list 10-15 different celebrities along with the products they endorse?
  3. What are examples of poor endorsement choices by companies?
  4. Poll students: Who are celebrities that they would view positively (and negatively) as endorsers?
  5. Show the list of the most-liked celebrities from Nielsen: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/they-really-like-me-the-most-liked-celebrity-endorsers-of-q1-2015.html
  6. In teams, assign each team a popular product and have teams determine a celebrity and campaign to use.

Source: Ad Age Daily, Brandchannel.com, Nielsen



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