Spokespeople matter! It may seem trivial at times, but it really does make a difference who’s hawking your product. I’ll give you an example from my own experiences.
I got fat. Okay, not that fat, but fatter than I’m used to, for sure. Most people say they can’t even tell, but I can, and I reached the point where my shorts didn’t button anymore. I’m pretty sure that’s case closed. I’m not one to sit idly by and not act on something I’m unhappy about, so that meant it was diet time.
After talking with some coworkers, I chose Weight Watchers. Seeing as that every single person I know who has taken part in WW is of the female persuasion, I was sure some of my male friends would mock me. Instead, what I heard was, “Oh, Charles Barkley is doing that. Cool!”
At first, I was just glad I picked now to gain some weight instead of when Queen Latifah was the spokeswoman! But then, I started thinking about how just that simple move by Weight Watchers led to an entire shift of opinion about the service by a lot of people.
It’s not every day that such dynamic shifts happen, but here are some other spokespeople that — for better or worse — have made an impact:
- Michael Jordan (Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, etc.) – One of the most successful endorsers ever. His economic impact is measured in the billions. Michael Jordan still has the highest consumer rating (Q-rating) for any sports player, active or retired.
- Carly Foulkes (T-Mobile girl) – A favorite (to hate, by some) around these parts, there’s no denying that she has helped make T-Mobile a household name. The fact that they kept her despite their new shift towards an edgier image shows she’s not going away anytime soon.
- Ellen DeGeneres (JC Penney) – Many were taken aback by this partnership, and a few were put off. But she’s helped usher in a new era for the company that so far has had overall great results.
- Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick – Whoops! One-time sure things and some of the most popular athletes in the world, the words of this trio don’t exactly inspire much confidence anymore. And the endorsements they lost due to their respective scandals would prove it.
- Dennis Haysbert and Dean Winters (Allstate) – A double success story! At opposite ends of the spectrum, “Mayhem” (Dean Winters) and a reassuring voice (Dennis Haysbert) show that some companies just know how to make an impact.
This list could go on forever; these are just a few notable examples. It doesn’t seem that getting any celebrity to pitch your product is going to do you any favors (J.Lo, anyone? Alex nods in approval). It’s more important to select the right person, celebrity or not. Overall, you should scout for spokespeople who best reflect your brand’s goals and personality, whether you find that person within your own company or through a talent agency. It would be detrimental to your campaign otherwise.
As Allstate and T-Mobile have shown, you don’t need a household name to get the reaction you’re looking for. You only need some creativity.
Can you think of any other brand spokespeople who have changed opinions of a company, for better or worse? Which brand advocates are your favorites?