I’m a person, get celebrities out of here

This is an article by Alex King.
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Alex King

In a TV advertisement, Cheryl Cole will tell you she’s “found an answer to our hair prayers” and that L’Oréal products are the solution to all of our dull, lifeless hair problems.

She obviously fails to mention that she is being paid to say all of this.

Using celebrities as spokespeople for products is hardly a new concept.

Enlisting an A-Lister as an ambassador for a brand has now become a mainstream promotional tactic.

With the rise of the web and social media, more and more people are researching products online before they buy. And when your favourite celebrity endorses something, does it influence you?

While many of us are now more media aware and have caught on that what celebrities say about certain products might not be sincere and genuine, celebrity endorsement has now become more devious with the social media boom.

What are the benefits of using a celebrity to endorse your products?

Beauty and glamour

The world of celebrity goes hand in hand with beauty and glamour, and your customers will start to associate this with your brand. Celebrities attract attention and this helps build recognition and trust with an audience. Many will be guided by their favourite celebrities and try and model themselves after them, making it easier to persuade them to buy your product purely by using Cheryl Cole in your ad.

Sex and drugs

While it can be beneficial for a brand, it can also be disastrous, particularly when a scandal is involved.  After all, we all remember what happened with Tiger Woods (sex) and Kate Moss (drugs). Numerous brands will soon cut ties with celebrities who can damage their reputations, particularly those brands seeking a family-friendly image.

These days, companies are starting to recognise Twitter as a powerful PR tool. If you want Kim Kardashian to tweet about loving your brand or products, her over 11 million followers will see it. While some of those will recognise the tweet as a marketing ploy and ignore it, many others will research the product, and a fair few will go on to buy it. While Twitter has been dubbed as ‘Free PR’ certain celebrities can charge you over $10,000 per tweet about your brand. So this option is immediately ruled out for small brands with limited budgets.

So is this fair?

Legal, decent, honest, truthful – and disclosed

This has led to calls for independent watchdogs and tighter regulation. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has started cracking down on Twitter users and bloggers. They recently reached a decision following an investigation into social media firm Handpicked Media which operates a commercial blogging network – insisting that it must clearly state its relationship with the brand, including whether or not promotional comments have been paid for. Perhaps this will put an end to some of the dishonesty but it can never be completely stopped.

In the culture we live in, celebrities are always in demand and celebrity endorsements will always be big business. While it can be a very effective tactic, many of us media cynics see it as a way of deceiving the naïve and misleading the public. While it can’t be stopped, perhaps more regulation and control is in order as the lines can often be somewhat hazy.

What are your thoughts? Is it acceptable for PR professionals to consider celebrities to endorse their products, particularly via Twitter? Or do you think there should be more regulation by independent watchdogs?


  1. Mica Walsh says:

    Very interesting article. I agree with the arguement that Twitter is free PR however I also think it is an ingenious idea. However in the past I have ‘unfollowed’ Celebrities for getting their own brand name out there into the public eye.
    In small doses promotion of product is subtle enough for us to not be fased by it however I do believe that certain Celebrities need to know their limits.

  2. Great to see your article up on here Alex! Very impressed! I see using a celebrities in adverts as fairly annoying now, they have the same effect as any other random model.
    I think that if Twitter were to be constantly used as an endorsement tactic, then it would soon be seen that it is used less and less, as people like to avoid adverts at all costs, like when you fast forward the adverts on sky+. There definitely should be regulation on the amount of endorsing products via twitter, especially if, as you say, some celebs charge $10,000 per tweet, which is ridiculous!

  3. We live in a market dirven society were money is the bottom line – so i do not think there will ever be a way to regulate celebrity endorsements… because both parties involved profit from their agreement.
    But i do believe there should be harsher regulations – especially when it comes to products that enforce obesity- generally an unhealthy lifestyle. This also encludes all photoshoped magazines we are exposed to. They should have to say that the models have been digitally “enhanced”.
    Well, i am getting a little off topic here …
    Good piece Alex.


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