Using Celebrity Endorsements for Local Products or Services

Using Celebrity Endorsements for Local Products or Services

Although the focus on celebrity endorsements tends towards big name brand products on a national or even international level, celebrity endorsements can also be utilized to give a local product, company or service a boom in sales and marketing. (Celebrity endorsements for local products.)

There is a common misconception that celebrity endorsements for are too pricey for for a local start up or small business.  While it is true that a smaller business is not as likely to pull a hard core A-Lister that just appeared in the blockbuster movie of the year, there are celebrities with plenty of draw that are willing and able to endorse products on a smaller scale and for less money.

Here are some points to consider:

*Everybody loves their home town.  Okay, maybe that is a little overstated, but people are drawn to their roots.  This includes celebrities.  A celebrity may feel inclined to help out a hometown business for sentimental reasons instead of cold, hard cash. The trick is finding a local celeb that also aligns with the product or service.

*Every town or city has local celebrities.  In a smaller town, this might be the mayor or former mayor.  It could be the local winner of a pageant, or a local that has appeared on any number of shows ranging from American Idol to Shark Tank.  This is simply a matter of searching. A quick Google search of American Idol contestants in my state pulled up a list of possible contenders. 

Realize that you can capitalize on the contestants “Five Minutes of Fame” even if they didn’t come close to winning.  Perhaps they are still interested in still pursuing a career and a little local media attention and social media attention would be a mutually beneficial proposition.

Creating an event and a little hoopla (or a lot) around your local future stars might just work out for all involved.

*Don’t forget about a retired athletes.  Depending on their status, they may be willing to give a local business a boost, particularly if it is a store, product or service that they tend to use themselves. 

*The retired and beloved mayor of your local city might be a good way to lend some credibility to a local business.  People like to be remembered for their accomplishments and a tasteful ad campaign might be just the ticket.

*Create a local celebrity.  Sometimes celebrity marketing can be as simple as choosing a face for a brand.  While this is a longer term proposition, over time choosing the right frontman (or frontwoman) to represent as the face of the company can pay off.  This builds credibility through familiarity.  People come to expect a message coming from the same person and this brands the product or service at the same time.

*Getting a local radio or TV personality can also enhance marketing on a local basis.  These personalities are well-known already and targeted to the correct market, can also lend authenticity to a campaign.  This can also work for the retired local weather guy that was invited into homes on a daily basis for a number of years.

A quick Google search located Denny Frary, a meteorologist for the local TV station that I grew up watching.  His longstanding career began in 1974 and ended with his retirement in 2006.  Even having not lived within a thousand miles of this town since 1991, I still remember him vividly.  Turns out that just this past November, Frary did a Red Kettle kickoff for the Salvation Army.  This is exactly the kind of local celebrity that would enhance almost any local business.

*The local high school sports team that just won the state championship can also serve as a celebrity endorsement.  Not only does recognizing local heroes endear a company to the local community, but it also gives a deserving group a pat on the back.  Combining this with a press event in which a donation is made to a local school might just be the ticket to a successful public relations event and timely marketing campaign.

The next points to consider are as follows:

*Make sure that the celebrity targets the correct market demographics.  Even though someone has “celebrity”, it does not automatically mean that their personality, past accomplishments and perhaps past misdeeds align with the needs and wants of the company or product.

*If a celebrity is one with “a bit of a reputation”  (see video of Gary Busey in a local Kia dealership commercial), it is wise advice to be prepared for a little bit of fallout.  This is a case in point of creating a buzz, because people ARE going to be talking about it.  This can work out fortuitously or backfire in the worst way possible.  This is just part of the territory when doing any marketing.

*Make sure that your marketing campaign is timely.  Someone who was an American Idol contestant three years ago is probably not going to garner much attention.  Acknowledging a local sports team months after their big season isn’t going to add much punch or credibility.

*Be ready with a rollout of follow-up spots, social media news and events. Have it all planned out and agreed upon in advance.  It may have to happen in rapid succession, so get your team on board and ready to roll to capitalize on any time of celebrity appearance or endorsement.

*Don’t forget about the legal aspects of a celebrity endorsement.  Just because you haven’t seen a local actor on TV or in movies for years does not mean that they don’t have an agent and are not legally bound and contracted in other ways.  It is always a good idea to have a contract (even when the celebrity isn’t or never has been a star).   This way everyone knows what to expect and is on the same page.

*There are also FTC rules and regulations that even the little, local guys need to adhere to.  Ensure that due diligence is done and having a lawyer cross check this is always a good idea. can help your business determine the best celebrity endorsement deal for your needs, great or small. For more information on navigating the complexities of celebrity endorsement branding deals with informercials, contact at 1(888)359-4521 or visit

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