Brands and marketers love to use celebrities to help endorse companies’ brands and products. Consumers think that if a product is good enough for someone famous that they respect, then it’s good enough for us as well. Using a celebrity’s image in advertising campaigns helps to promote products and raise its awareness. Marketers hope that the positive response to a celebrity will be passed on to the products or brands.
There are advantages to this approach. Celebrity endorsements help consumers remember advertisements and makes a brand more memorable than a brand that lacks a celebrity. But it doesn’t always work; it can backfire on both the brand and the celebrity when things go astray. Since by their very nature, celebrities are often in the news, and are monitored constantly, a celebrity who takes an unpopular stand risks damaging his or her image, as well as the brand. Scandals can immediately provoke a negative consumer perception and harm the brand.
Celebrity endorsements can be a great boon to brands, linking brands tightly to the fortunes of the celebrity. We can think of many great partnerships and athletes and celebrities, but there have also been some notable failures.
A recent celebrity endorsement upset is the dissolution of the partnership between rapper and designer Kanye West and Adidas a result of antisemitic remarks made by West (Adidas manufacturers West’s Yeezy shoe line). The two have been in business together since 2016. The Yeezy partnership is estimated to account for 8% of Adidas’ annual sales.
While there are many news reports available about what happened and the timeline of the Adidas decision, the entire case is really about power of celebrity endorsements.
What is your opinion?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the effects of celebrity endorsements on brands.
- In teams, have students list both positive and negative celebrity endorsement deals.
- Show the 2016 announcement of the Adidas/Kanye partnership: https://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/press-releases/2016/adidas-and-kanye-west-make-history-transformative-new-partnershi/
- A GMA video about the recent breakup can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/MFUH_A3mApg
- Poll students about their opinions about the situation.
- What should Adidas do to recover from the situation?
Source: Safdar, K. and Pacheco, I. (27 November 2022). Adidas top executives discussed risk of staff’s ‘direct exposure’ to Kanye West years ago. Wall Street Journal.