July 8, 2015

By Harriet Scott

Whether its Arnold Schwarzenegger sharing his Hummer with a Meerkat or David Beckham throwing shapes in his undies – picking the right celebrity ambassador can undoubtedly rocket propel your product or brand.

We don’t all have the financial firepower to jet A-listers in to promote our campaigns – but high calibre stars are not always necessary to effectively promote a brand or product.

We have worked at editor level on national newspapers for the last 20 years and we’ve seen some celebrity endorsements go horribly wrong.

So whether your brand spokesperson has cost you mega bucks or a few thousand quid – there are some golden rules that should be observed when picking the right person to cheerlead your product or company in your news stories, radio days or broadcast media.

Here are some key pointers to bear in mind.

1. News Appeal

In order to secure column inches or air time, the “face” or “voice” of your brand needs to be media friendly. They need to understand and respect the balancing act that we, as PRs, have spent years cleverly crafting. The subtle process of delivering first and foremost, a news hook, which can then be used as a basis to deliver the all-important plug for your associated brand and for the celebrity. We scratch the journalists backs and then they scratch ours, albeit with slightly little less vigour. If they don’t understand this, your campaign has the potential to be a disaster.

2. News Value

A personality must have something new or interesting to say. If you are organising interviews with print or broadcast media, keep in mind that although they are essentially there to promote your brand – if they solely talk about the product, it is not going to get any pick up. Ideally in an interview situation, you need to deliver a news angle from you personality. Look at the media climate and see if there is something you can ask them to talk about – politics, celebrity gossip – whatever’s topical and relevant to that week or month. This will provide a news hook for the journalist and everyone’s a winner.

3. Exclusivity

Even if you have a fantastic news hook that is going to make all-round page leads, the most important thing is to make sure that this is the first time they are going to say what you have agreed for them to say. At the beginning of the process, make sure the contract ensures that your celebrity ambassador is not giving any other media interviews in the weeks leading up to your event. If you have booked a journalist in to do an exclusive interview with your personality and they then talk to another journalist – it isn’t going to help the story, or your future relationships with journalists.

4. Relevance

It may sound like stating the obvious but you would be surprised how many PRs shoehorn a celebrity into a product that has absolutely no relevance at all. Make sure there is a link between your spokesperson and what they are plugging. It has to feel like a natural, organic fit – or there is simply no point to the partnership. There is little point in hiring a celebrity gardener to talk about life insurance.

5. Credibility

Again, this may sound like stating the obvious, but a spokesperson should, at the very least have a working knowledge and understanding of the product. It should feel like they are speaking from the heart – and that they encompass the brand values. As an example, if you are working with a parenting brand, don’t pick someone who is likely to be pictured in Soho, stumbling along the street in a drunken stupor – like me for example!

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