Following the official announcement at the end of 2010 that Tiger Woods has been dropped as the face of Gillette, it forces celebrity sponsorship in to the spotlight and whether or not such deals can really add value to a brand and their accompanying marketing campaigns.
Are the celebrities and sponsorship deals really worth all the money that they demand from companies? Tiger Woods' sponsorship deal was rumoured to have cost an incredible £2.5 million and where it cannot be denied that the celebrity 'brands' can help attract new markets, Proctor and Gamble were thrown in to the midst of a PR nightmare last year when regulations of Tiger Woods personal life came to the forefront of the world's media. Trapped in contracts and knowing the incredible marketing cost associated with such a global campaign, Gillette had limited choice but to quietly continue with the partnership. Probably a painstaking year for them, no doubt. A year that could have seen a worrying backlash from their target market and damage to a brand that has taken years to develop. Companies being associated with celebrity scandals is becoming a regular occurance. We had Kate Moss dropped by several brands, including Rimmel cosmetics, following exposure of her cocaine-taking, then Kerry Katona only recently dropped as the face of Iceland due to another high profiled drugs problem.
Is it worth all the trouble? Do these celebrity endorsements really work to the point of having to pay a fortune to greedy celebrities who only really get paid to smile at a camera, whilst you are having to pray every day that they don't get pictured with your competitor, or that skeletons comes out of their closet that could subsequently damage your reputation? This recent article in Media Guardian provides an interesting insight into the issue. PR guru Mark Bokowski claims that brands are slowly moving away from involving individuals due to the risk involved. However, the long line of celebrities gracing our television ad breaks does not seem to be disappearing any time soon. Is this the continuing way forward for brands of the 21st Century, or are companies going to start to realise they have more to offer than having to rely on the persona of celebrities who just want their 5 minutes of fame? This weeks guest Editor is Helena Krzeminski.