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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 15 2013: I'll just take one as a example. Tiger Woods. It has been proven beyond a doubt that Tiger Woods has no morals, ethics, or honor, but that does not make the product he endorsed either good or bad ...

    Kobe Bryant did all of the same unethical dishonable things that Tiger did but yet Mac D and Coke want him to be the face of their product ... Poor choice ... on a personal level .. probally. On a corporate level .... the only question is ... Did sales go up or down ... did we get our moneys worth in hiring him?

    So here it is ... according to Bob. If you buy the product because of the face on the carton then you deserve what you get. If the product is good and you know it then the face on the ad makes no difference.

    The danger as I see it is that companies / politicians can sell you the koolade and you develop a taste for it. If you are a sheeple incapable of thought .... you will ignore this and vote and buy the way someone else tells you.

    Time to put on your big boy pants and think for yourself.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Mar 15 2013: hey , RW , so you say that it does not matter that celebrity is good or bad , companies are only concerned about their dividents and social personality of celeb does not effects the brands or products he is endrosing ..
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        Mar 15 2013: Yep, Say they put my photo on a box of a popular cereal. They will not change the formula for making the cereal ... it is good and people still buy it.

        A new perfume comes out and they put a picture of Gaga on the box ... Gaga fans buy it up ... it stinks .... sales will go down.

        Say you love XYZ chocolate and they put a photo of John on the wrapper ... You hate John but love the brand ... do you stop buying it. Probally not.

        Just because you wear Air Jordan's will not make you a all pro player. Stand in the garage all day you are still not a car.

        You know what you like and what works .... did the face make you buy it .... no! You bought it because of the quality and cost ... the consumers bottom line.

        All the best. Bob.
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          Mar 16 2013: Rb , but sir you quoted in your second example of lady gaga , that if we put the picture on a box , then fans will buy , no matter it stinks , so actually this example goes against the whole concept of the cost or quality , its is in favour of celebrity endrosements and proves it right for the brands to give them money ..
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        Mar 16 2013: True if you consider a one time buy by her fans a marketing success. One spike in declining sales is not success by any measurement.
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          Mar 16 2013: ok , i also think the same that your idol can make you buy something once , and if the quality is not up to the mark , you will not definitely not buy it again .
          i have a point to raise , that there are 2 products , 1 is with good quality and 2 is a litlte less quality but is advertised by your favourite celeb , which one you will buy , if the prices are same ..
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        Mar 16 2013: The picture on the box does not influence me .... I buy based on Taste, quality, and cost. I f one product is 12 cents per ounce and another is 14 cents per ounce I will almost always go for the 12 if I know the quality is close.

        Asperine is a good example. It is either asperine or not it is either buffered or not to pay a lot for a brand name is silly. Buy the generic every time .... in this case buying for the picture would be really dumb.
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          Mar 17 2013: hmm , RW , sir in that case , i think that there is a need to increase awareness from the brand itself , about their product and quality , rather than paying money for advertisement , so now the product would be cheaper as less money is put into add campaign , and that money is now used to improve quality further , but still there is a point , of how practically , make this less advertised product popular among masses , so you get what i am trying to say ..
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        Mar 17 2013: Tarun, Say I come to Chandigarh for the Rose Festival and ask where to eat ... you may say Baithak Kalagram or Pomodoro ( but you should have reservations). I might say no I want food from the South and you tell me Sundarams is the best in town.

        If I say who has the best Aaloo Paratha you would smile and say I will take you .... because we cannot deny the favorite of the people of Northern India.

        My point is. We find the very best by asking someone. The best advertisement of a product is by word of mouth.

        Do you go to a resturant because a big picture of Rajesh Khanna said to? Nope.

        I wish you well. Bob

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