Now. For all who haven’t read the previous two posts (1 and 2)and are not going to read either. The last two posts have been about why star endorsements do not work generally, about its impact. In fact, many people don’t get affected by star testimonials at all.
Reason – they have lost their novelty. The mediums of communication have increased. Gone are the days when TV did not need a remote as there were no more than 5 channels.
Any great brand ambassadors tries selling almost everything. Endorsing more than 10 brands. Clutter and confusion. People want to associate a brand to a person but when an endorser acts for 15 ads there is no consistent image.
Brand endorsements will always be there. There is some chimeric imagination attached to them. I fail to understand why. When I talk of suits and clothings I remember Raymonds because of their classic teacher student ad and more recently of the business executive with his dogs ad. Check all Raymond ads here. Whereas, Amitabh’s Reid and Taylor hardly registers an impact and SRK’s Belmonte can be brushed off. Both from S.Kumar’s. The stars are way bigger than the brand. They look out of place. While making a brand endorsement, avoid what SRK brands, Amitabh Bachchan brands etc are doing and then its hard to find where one can go wrong. Brand endorsements to charter a different way for sure.
Brand endorsements are mostly not worth the buck passed. Many backfire and there are great chances that the ad fails before it takes off. Ask 7up who advertised in Ireland keeping Roy Keane as the central theme during the world cup. He was sent back without playing a match and 7 up had hardly sold any bottles. Back home everyone knows the Pepsi blue billion campaign fiasco that left millions of Pepsi blue bottles unopened. But still I maintain that celebrity endorsements in sports will continue as long as it is relevant. Sachin and Pepsi’s memorable “Nothing official about it”, ambush marketing campaign during 1996 world cup was one such instance. But I don’t know how effective Sachin was trying to sell Aviva life insurance.
The Cost benefit ratio is highly tilted towards the former and spills over to do more damage than just incurring cost, it can even tarnish the image. Ask Siyarams who advertised with Hansie Cronje and suffered ignominy when the match fixing scandal floated. Read related Cronje-Siyarams article. McDonalds and Sprite took a beating when Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault. Kobe-McDonalds controversy article for more. Same holds true for Chris Browns Wrigleys endorsement and Michael Phelps for Kellogs, which dumped Phelps after he was seen smoking marijuana, what a brand association.
Then why does Nike and Adidas use brand ambassadors? How are they succesfull?
I would simply like to quote David Ogilivy here “Testimonials from celebrities get high recall scores, but I have stopped using them because readers remember the celebrity’s and forget the product. Whats more, they assume that the celebrity has been bought, which is usually the case. On the other hand, testimonials from experts can be persuasive – like having an ex-burglar testify that he had never been able to crack a chubb safe.” And he was not talking about 2009 but earlier than 1983, when the stars did not hire advertising management companies. They hardly starred in a couple of ads. Nothing has sold Nike more, than three words “Just do it”.
Nike as far as I know do not endorse through film stars or entertainment celebrities. They do it through experts of that field. Cricketers, footballers, tennis stars and so on. Their shoes are designed by them, the players and various celebrities. Hence they are connected with the product. M.S Dhoni, I can bet my life on it, did not design any finance plan for GE Finance (still flustered with that association, check out the GE money Dhoni ad and wonder) and neither does SRK eat Sunfeast biscuits for which he advertises.
One of the most successful brand associations have been that of Michael Jordan and Nike. Why?
Because he was connected with the brand. Any successful brand endorsement has to have a direct and strong relationship between the brand and the product and not ride on the popularity aspect. See Jordan Nike 2009.
Another recallable partnership is Tiger Woods- Accenture brand. They haven’t simply put in tiger woods and made him say that Accenture is the best. They have developed a relation with him. Accenture is designated as the exclusive management consulting and technology services partner of both Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation. In addition, Accenture advises the Tiger Woods Learning Center on technology support, including the TWLC eLearning system. Plus, I don’t think accentures clients work with them because Tiger Woods is their brand ambassador.
Finally check this report out by the European commissions research.