Tag Archives: celebrity endorsements

Athletes as Endorsers

Athletes as celebrity endorsers play a major role in marketing and building brand awareness around the globe. An individual celebrity who endorses a product can often be seen as an effective spokesperson and help to generate awareness and sales for products. In fact, sports sponsorship is a $60 billion industry globally and includes endorsements for sportswear, beverages, technology, and more.

According to Forbes magazine, four top athletes – Roger Federer, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant – earn more from endorsements than from their sports winnings! But, great as these athletes are, a younger generation of athletes under 25 years old are on their way up, and brands are on the lookout.

To help determine an athlete’s marketability, Nielsen Sports researches social media data to arrive at an “Athlete Influencer Score” comprised of evaluating an athlete’s relevance, reach, return, and resonance. It incorporates factors such as social following, fanbase growth, and media value. The company’s report includes this year’s 50 most marketable, young athletes.

Among the top pro contenders are:

  • Kylian Mbappe, age 20, France, soccer
  • Simone Biles, age 22, U.S., gymnast
  • Patrick Mahomes, age 23, U.S., football
  • Naomi Osaka, age 21, Japan, tennis
  • Rose LaVelle, age 24, U.S., soccer

It’s not always easy for any celebrity to become an effective brand ambassador. The celebrity’s built-in fan base usually comes with specific consumer behaviors and purchases. There are many ways for brands and their athlete partners to reach fans. In particular, social media platforms are very effective in speaking directly to fans and can provide meaningful communications.

Which athlete do you trust?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the communication process: sender, encoding, message, medium, decoding, and receiver.
  2. What role do celebrity endorsements play in the communications and marketing roles?
  3. What features make an athlete an effective spokesperson for a product or brand?
  4. Link to report from Nielsen Sport: (must register on Nielsen) https://nielsensports.com/50-most-marketable-athletes/
  5. More information: http://nielsensports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/nielsen-power-of-one-athletes-as-endorsers.pdf
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team identify 10 different athletes that they have seen endorse products.
  7. Are these successful, or unsuccessful, spokespeople?
  8. Finally, select a number of industries or products and have students discuss which athletes best fit the product.

Source:  Forbes; Nielsen Research

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Naming a New Brand is Tricky!

How important is naming a new brand? It is absolutely critical – and also exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Marketers have to come up with a new name that represents the product’s value and attributes, AND be attractive to customers, AND it must not be taken by another company, AND is not too common a name, AND is not offensive to any population. Whew. No wonder so many companies use made-up words as brand names.

A recent case about the perils of naming a new brand was the ‘Kimono’ shapewear brand developed by celebrity icon Kim Kardashian West. Although the branding was rigorously researched, the ‘Kimono’ name was criticized globally as being offensive and profiting from a traditional clothing article that was a cultural symbol of Japanese heritage. The name had to go, along with the Kimono Web site, logo, labels, and more. More than two million garments will need to be relabeled so that no products are wasted.

The stakes are high for the new brand. The global women’s underwear industry is valued at approximately $83.3 billion and is still growing. It is also fragmented with new comers gaining market share at the expense of older more established brands. To her credit, Kardashian West listened to criticisms and has decided to change the name prior to releasing any product. (The new name has not yet been announced.)

What’s in a name? Everything!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their viewpoints on the Kimono name. Do they agree with the decision to change the name?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. For ‘Kimono’ put students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    3. Opportunities: What is going on in the marketplace that is positive?
    4. Threats: What factors should the company be wary of?
  4. Put students into teams. Have each team develop a new name for the Kimono brand.
  5. Post the names on the board and vote on a winner.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, other news sources

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Different Perspectives: Dream Crazy, Crazier, and Be the Best You

Consumers have many opinions about product advertising and branding, and they are not afraid to voice them. Opinions can depend on the times, trends, and moods of the population. In the U.S. today, the topics of social justice, harassment, and equality are very much top of mind for many consumers. Consequently, they may respond to advertisements in a different way today than they might have responded a few years ago.

One very timely topic that is addressed by Gillette is the harassment that started the #MeToo movement. A new ad from the company focuses on bullying and ‘toxic masculinity’ and asks consumers “Is this the best a man can get?” The ad was designed to inspire positive behavior, but has faced a backlash of negative reactions. Why?

Another company that is no stranger to controversy is Nike. A few months ago it released an advertisement narrated by Colin Kaepernick titled “Dream Crazy.” That advertisement focused on the power of social justice and dreams that drive people to achieve more. However it also generated a score of negative publicity initially for Nike. Why?

Finally, a new advertisement from Nike features Serena Williams narrating a “Dream Crazier” video focused on the achievements of women in sports, and reminding viewers that women are not crazy just because they want to achieve more than stereotypes have limited them to. This one is generating positive publicity. Why?

How can companies and brands tie into broader social messages? Should they?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the perspectives and attitudes of consumers. What are conditions or topics that impact perspectives and purchases? What are current events that influence behavior?
  2. Show the recent advertisements from Gillette: https://gillette.com/en-us/the-best-men-can-be
  3. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  4. Next, show Nike’s ad titled “Dream Crazy” narrated by Colin Kaepernick: https://news.nike.com/featured_video/just-do-it-dream-crazy-film
  5. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  6. Finally, show Nike’s newest advertisement narrated by Serena Williams about females in sports (“Dream Crazier”) from Nike: https://news.nike.com/featured_video/dream-crazier
  7. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  8. Why do these ads generate such passionate responses?

Source: Ad Week, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other news sources

 

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