TED Conversations

Tarun Mahani

Curator, TEDx

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The Danger of Celebrity Endorsements of Brands

Paying celebrities to endorse a brand is dangerous territory. This isn’t a new revelation, but brands still shell out massive amounts of money to have the “it” celebrity of the moment appear in ads and say how great the brand is.

The latest celebrity brand endorsement gone wrong story (Lance Armstrong admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he used doping to win all of his Tour de France titles) reminds us once again how risky it is to pay to attach a celebrity name to a brand name.

The list of celebrity endorsements of brands that have gone terribly wrong for the brands is long. Here are a few:

Tiger Woods and multiple brands
Madonna and Pepsi
Kobe Bryant and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola
Michael Vick and Nike
Michael Phelps and Kellogg’s
Kate Moss and Chanel and H&M
O.J. Simpson and Hertz


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    Mar 16 2013: Tarun, I tend to think celebrity endorsements are not terribly risky for big companies. I think when an individual celebrity does something bad, we don't blame the corporation, we blame the individual celebrity. For example, when Kobe was accused of rape, I did not blame McDonalds or CocaCola, after all, it would have been very difficult for them to know that would happen. None of us foresaw that.
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      Mar 16 2013: hey , GD , i completely agree that big companies are always on the safe side , and to them publicity does not matter , even if they don't advertise , thier products will be sold coz they have earned people's heart and that is why they are big brands and also the celebs personal life does not have any effect on the comapanies sales or image ..

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