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: honestly, i could not care less if a corporation loses some sales. why would i care about that? i think there are two stupids in this situations. one stupid is of course corporations not caring about the future, and taking too much risk focusing their ad campaigns on stars that tend to end up in jail, detox or morgue after taking one too many dose of some drug. but as i said, for all i care, they can go bankrupt, and i won't even bother reading the article about it.

    the second stupid is the customer. if you buy a product because of some celebrity appeared in a tv spot, you are as dumb as it gets. if you are not grown up enough to make decisions for yourself, you are hopeless, and deserve to buy crap. but this is important. we are all affected by this stupid consumer behavior, so it does worth calling attention to it.
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      Mar 17 2013: hey , KP , sir what i think is that , if such is the case then , brands should take celebs of good social image , and at the same time it makes sense , as in cricket goods should have cricket players as their brand face , it happens when it does not make sense , cricket player endrosing football goods company ..
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        Mar 17 2013: "should" in the sense that this is your recommendation. not in the sense that this is the absolute right thing to do, and especially not in the sense that it is moral. choosing britney spears as your celeb icon is a risk, and if a company is willing to take that risk, in the worst case, it is an error. error is okay.

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