Some Helpful Guidelines to Hiring a Celebrity to Endorse Your Products

Some Helpful Guidelines to Hiring a Celebrity to Endorse Your Products

Make sure that the celebrity fits your demographics.  Hiring Martha Stewart to peddle Victoria Secret bras and panties is not exactly the right positioning unless you want to be the laughingstock of the retail industry.  Not to say that Martha Stewart isn’t the perfect pitchman for SOME product, just not THIS product. (Hiring a celebrity to endorse your products)

Targeting the right demographics is almost something that is not worth mentioning except that you still see advertising campaigns that miss the mark on this and leave you scratching your head wondering what the hell they were thinking. 

You might want to consider surveying the demographic you are trying to reach to find out what celebrities have the most appeal and are trusted in the segment you are attempting to target.  This way you can be sure that you are in the ballpark when you go to negotiate a contract with a celebrity to be the new, fresh face of your product or service.

An example of a mismatched celebrity and product is actor Alex Baldwin peddling the Venture Card for Capital One.  Baldwin is well-known for his liberal leanings and this was a match made in hell. His leftwing followers felt that this was a betrayal and frankly, this was not a very credible match.

Do Everything to Hedge Your Bets on the Celebrity You Choose

We all have heard about the epic failures in celebrity endorsements.  The most recent being Jared Fogle for Subway and his recent guilty plea to child pornography charges.  After years of a mutually beneficial relationship between Subway and Jared, the relationship came to a screeching epic halt.

While even the celebrity with the best track record can go astray and take your brand with it, this is a point that should never be overlooked.  Do everything you can to hedge your bets and hire a celebrity whose behavior is going to represent your product and your brand well.

It almost goes without saying that expected code of conduct and consequences of a breech in this expected conduct should be included in any contract.  Minimally this lays out what is expected in terms of conduct from the celebrity and can give a financial out when and if these terms are violated. 

The good news for Subway is that while people will continue to associate Jared with Subway, it doesn’t appear that they are blaming the brand for his heinous crimes.   Subway took immediate steps to distance themselves from Fogle once he was arrested, including removing promotional posters and items from their stores and eliminating any references to him from their website.

If you are venturing into the realm of hiring a celebrity to endorse your product or service, don’t expect to get something for nothing.  You should expect there to be a cost involved, and chances are, you may have sticker shock upon hearing that price. 

While negotiating is part and parcel of the business world, don’t waste your time, or anyone else’s trying to get something for nothing or the virtual equivalent.  Celebrities have generally done their time and paid their dues in order to get to where they are today whether a fashion model, actor or athlete.  They are lending their credibility to your product, and to a certain extent the cost is going to follow the law of supply and demand.  The more in demand a celebrity is, the more you are going to pay for it. 

Do Your Research

Maybe doing a celebrity endorsement is not the way to go for your next advertising campaign.  Maybe the coffers are just a little too empty for this to be a smart move on your part.  While you can bet it all and go for bust, it may be smarter to have a series of less expensive advertising campaigns to roll out and increase revenue and then build the coffers (and brand recognition in the meantime) so that you can afford the outlay of cash it is going to take to secure an celebrity endorsement.

In the business world, there are times to take a conservative approach and there are times to bet it all.  You need to seriously weigh the financial risks and benefits when embarking upon a celebrity endorsement deal.  After all, you probably aren’t playing with the same kind of capital that brands like Nike, Coca-Cola and Target have. 

As a business you need to leverage your marketing budget to get your money’s worth and sometimes it is not the right time and the right place to bet the farm on a celebrity.

It pays to do a little (or a lot) or homework to ensure that this is the right move for your brand and your company. 

Would the Celebrity Actually Use Your Product

You just might want to find out ahead of time if the celebrity you want to endorse your product does or might actually use your product.  This might involve finding out what types of causes a celebrity supports and whether or not they align with your own company’s principles and/or causes.  You might want to find out what types of products the celebrity is currently endorsing or has endorsed in the past. 

None of this is a guarantee, but it might save you the trouble of finding out later that (and at the same time the public does) that there is no way in hell that the celebrity you chose to endorse your product would ever actually use it.  Perhaps the best illustration of this is the Beef Industry Council using Cybill Shepherd in their “Real Food for Real People” campaign back in 1986.  Shortly after the campaign began, Shepherd admitted in public that she “tried to stay away from red meat.”  Needless to say that contract was not renewed.

At we can help you navigate these issues and more.   For help in securing the right celebrity for your next marketing campaign, you can call us at 1(888)359-4521 or visit to find out more.

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