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 17 2013: Professor Robert Cialdini wrote two books on influence. They should be easy to find in a library. References show up every now on the internet. The one that got me was a take-away. At least we know that the celebs are getting paid. There was a TED talk recently where a Rapper portrays a character who killed someone for a pair of Air Jordans. I am not sure if your use of danger is the right word, but salesman are very aware of manipulation techniques.
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      Mar 17 2013: thanks GL , sir , i am really looking forward to get these 2 books by Professor Robert Cialdini ..
      and can you please send me link to the Ted talk that you are talking about ..

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