Business PR Strategy

To Celeb or Not to Celeb – That is the Question

Posted by Deborah | November 24th, 2014 | No responses


EVER pondered how great it would be to get a household name shouting about the joys or benefits of your product?

Ever convinced yourself that your brand would be an overnight success if only a mere B-List (or C, or D..!) celebrity would declare themselves a customer for PR purposes?

Celebrity usage in PR campaigns is certainly no new phenomenon, and you can be sure that a discussion about endorsement takes place in most promotional planning meetings when a new service or product is all set to bounce into life.

The plus-points are reasonably obvious. Get a celebrity to attach their face to your initiative / product / organisation and suddenly you’re tapping into their audience reach (which will hopefully be vastly improved on your own).

This is particularly beneficial in the days of social media.

Even before you pick up the phone to the journalist and tell them that Popstar XYZ or former TV sensation ABC is attaching themselves to your brand, you’ve the potential to be mentioned through that celeb’s twitter feed, Instagram, youtube channel or personal blog.

Should the journalist take the ‘bite’ you’ve then the scope to be seen in news outlets which otherwise might not have found your product sexy or meaningful enough to grace its column inches or airtime.

All good so far, but are there some notes of caution? Yes, here’s five quick considerations if you are intending to embark on a celeb-linked PR campaign:

  1. How appropriate is this celeb to your brand and do you really know their values and reputation?
    Using a celebrity to help promote is one thing, but at least do your homework enough to ensure you really are getting someone who is a good fit with your offering. Otherwise your potential customer will see through the ‘stunt’ and your reputation suffers.
  2. What’s the contract?
    No, of course you don’t want to ruffle feathers with a celeb, but it’s critical that both parties know what the expectation is. Are you expecting them to tweet so many times, turn up at photoshoots, introduce other third parties? Make it clear from the outset.
  3. Nothing in life is guaranteed.
    Even with having the greatest celebrity on board, it’s still possible that the journalist won’t want to use the material or that the coverage will fall short of your client / boss’s expectation. Discuss that from the get-go.
  4. Money talks.
    Of course you’ll be expecting to pay something for the celebrity’s time, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in a bidding war for that person’s endorsement or input. Be realistic about what your publicity campaign warrants – and stick to it.
  5. Is your celebrity the best media-savvy option?
    For one, not all celebrities are as great at media as you may think (those known less for the media world and more for things like sport, may lack media experience and need you to enhance that). Moreover, you may well find that actually, your internal organisation has a far better ambassador or mouthpiece that the press will buy into more readily. Authenticity goes a long way.


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