The FRED Concept

The FRED Concept

What is the FRED concept and what does it have to do with celebrity endorsements.  I recently ran across this concept and felt it was a valid method of yardsticking a potential celebrity endorser against a brand. 

FRED stands for Familiarity, Relevance, Esteem, and Differentiation.


How familiar is the public that you are trying to reach with the celebrity you want to affix to your brand?  Hiring the most visible and familiar celebrity for your brand may not only be out of your price range, but that individual may be less valuable to your brand because they overshadow your product, or simple are not a good fit for the message you are attempting to get across to your public.

Still, the celebrity should have place in the collective hearts and minds of the audience at large.  You may want to consider a B-List celebrity or a celebrity that has had significant familiarity in the past, but is not in less demand.  In these cases, the celebrity may have fewer scheduling issues, be more cost effective and generally be more flexible, while still resonating with the audience you are trying to reach.

You can “grow your own celebrity” such as the way Subway did with Jared, (minus the scandal, of course), but this takes time and a long term relationship and hopefully doesn’t end up going up in flames in the end. 


Is the celebrity candidate relevant to your brand and the message that you are trying to instill in the public?  While Patrick Stuart is probably a perfectly good spokesperson for some products, however, hiring him to sell a shampoo is simply not relevant.  (Although it might be funny!)  Most of the time, ensuring that your brand and representative are relevant is more subtle than this example.

What is most important is determining whether or not the public finds the celebrity to be relevant to the brand.  Finding a suitable match can be a little tricky, particularly given the fickle nature of some demographics.  However, it pays to do enough market research to determine whether or not your potential spokesperson is going to ring true with your audience.  Will it be believable? 

While in some ways it was a major coup for Sears to secure Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian for the Kardashian Kollection, this is outrageously irrelevant.  Was it any wonder that this relationship ended in short time?  Not really.  My guess is that Sears was just so enamored with the idea of getting three huge names attached to their brand that they completely forgot to determine whether or not the Kardashian name would bring any sort of relevance to the game. I personally find this association to be so outrageously unbelievable and disingenuous that it is hard to not think it was someone’s idea of a sick joke.


What kind of respect and admiration is your chosen celebrity going to bring to the table?  Are they bringing a bad boy (or bad girl) reputation with them?  In this case, buyer beware.  There are plenty of celebrities that will bring familiarity and perhaps even relevance to the table, but their reputation for being, shall we say, troublesome, could potentially adversely affect the image of your brand.  In this case, not only is the return on investment going to be poor, but it could end up costing the brand in the end.

You want your brand to be well thought of in the eyes of the public, and therefore your celebrity spokesperson should also be well thought of in the public arena.  This doesn’t mean that you have to find the most “milk and cookies” celebrity to represent your brand, but you certainly want to ensure that they don’t come with not just baggage, but luggage when making the final selection. 

While there are never any guarantees that your chosen spokesperson won’t mess up and damage the good name of your brand, there is no excuse for not doing applying due diligence when it comes to this aspect of marketing. 

Your celebrity should attract, not detract from your brand.  The fit should be as seamless and genuine as possible, while still being thought provoking and interesting.


What is going to differentiate your brand and your spokesperson from all the rest?  Is your celebrity just another pretty face shilling a product that is competing in a saturated market?  This probably isn’t going to cut it.  If the marketing arena that you are playing in is highly competitive, your brand is surely going to need something that makes your product stand out amongst the rest.

Sure this means a creative ad campaign, and a good product, but it also means that your celebrity needs to be known as an individual and not just one amongst the herd of many.  This is where the personality and individuality of the celebrity can bring much to the table. 

The whole point of a celebrity endorsement is to attract attention, but some stars are just another face in the crowd as far as the public is concerned.  Perhaps your star is known for being a goof ball or family guy (or gal), something that sets them apart from all the rest, in a positive way.

Let’s face it, getting the attention of the public is already challenging whether you have a celebrity or not.  Channel surfing during commercials is easy, flipping the pages of a magazine is easy.  Scrolling past that ad on Facebook or Twitter…easy.  The public is not quite as easily captivated as it once was. 

Having a celebrity endorser that captures attention for themselves (but not so much that they overshadow your message) can be make your brand stand out from the rest.

FRED is a good guideline in sorting out what celebrity might best enhance your brand, but it isn’t foolproof and requires thoughtful consideration on each point. can help you in determining the right celebrity for your brand.  For help in finding the right celebrity for your brand, contact at 1(888)359-4521 or visit

What do you think? Let us know.