Celebrity endorsements or lazy marketing?

Posted on August 12, 2010

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I just happened upon a video on YouTube (as you do!) by David Mitchell, of Mitchell & Web fame [Peep Show & That Mitchell and Webb Look].  The video, which is here and is very funny, involved David, as himself, on his soapbox talking about being asked to sign a girl’s breasts.  YouTube indicated to me that this was merely one in a series, indeed two series, of videos, which are collectively called ‘David Mitchell’s Soapbox’.  I would heartily recommend the series to you by the way.

David Mitchell's Soapbox

David Mitchell, sans hair product - thank God!

So, why was David giving away free material on YouTube?  Well the answer is celebrity endorsement.  The male grooming brand ‘Bulldog‘ has commissioned David to produce the series and there is a Bulldog advert at the beginning of each video.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I think David Mitchell is fantastic, but I’m just not sure that he and Bulldog are happy bedfellows.  But maybe that’s the point – although, if that’s the case I think that it’s far to subtly executed.

You see, Bulldog is a bit, well, blokey and David is the world’s least blokey bloke.  That said, David Mitchell is possibly the only member of the intelligentsia that ‘yer average bloke’ wouldn’t poke in the eye with their copy of the Daily Star if they bumped into him at the Red Lion pub, which is admittedly unlikely.  As celebrity endorsements go, I think this kind of works – although it’s not going to make me go out and buy Bulldog’s products, despite my marketing haircut.  Since starting to pen this blog I’ve come across another video (I must learn to focus), where David talks about male grooming and the link up – and here it is:

So, in this instance I think Bulldog have, sort of, gotten away with it.  However, there are plenty of memorable celebrity endorsements that are so bad they’re good for all the wrong reasons, Tiger Woods or Kerry (bloody) Katona anyone?

The trouble with celebrity endorsements is that they are often chosen for the wrong reasons.  The common culprit being because the marketer doesn’t think that their product or brand has a compelling enough personality or proposition on its own, i.e. they are being lazy.  For endorsements to work the celebrity’s own brand values need to marry up with the product’s own values or be diametrically opposed – as is the case in Bulldog’s example.  But, there is a large part of me which thinks it’s pretty lazy.  Apple doesn’t need celebrity tie-ins because the brand stands up and shouts on its own.

Maybe, the moment you think about a celebrity endorsement is the time when you need to look at your proposition and revisit it!

Or maybe I’m just jealous because the closest I’ve ever gotten to a celebrity endorsement was when I hired Roy Walker to do an after-dinner stint.  He was excellent by the way and even did a couple of Catch Phrases for me, although he did keep getting my name wrong.

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