How to leverage Hollywood: Celebrity spokespeople

In my first two posts, I discussed event sponsorship and product integration as tactics for playing in the branded entertainment space and penetrating the world of celebrity. In this final post, I'm turning my attention to celebrity spokespeople.

In my first two posts, I discussed event sponsorship and product integration as tactics for playing in the branded entertainment space and penetrating the world of celebrity. In this final post, I'm turning my attention to celebrity spokespeople.

Celebrity endorsements are a common practice in the public relations industry for consumer brands. It is nearly impossible to watch TV, read a magazine, or log in to social media without seeing a celebrity promoting a product. Similar to event sponsorship, the opportunities are far and wide – from one-and-done deals to more authentic, robust celebrity-brand relationships.

Hiring a spokesperson for one branded effort allows brands to see a spike in product awareness and secure media placements. If executed correctly, borrowing the equity of a brand-right celebrity lends the brand instant clout. The celebrity's advocacy on behalf of the brand translates into immediate results, whether in the form of a quick social hit or a more prominent media placement. With some creativity, flexibility and strategic planning, brands can hit the bull's eye with a celebrity that is true to the brand, media-friendly, and within budget.

While short-term celebrity partnerships provide immediate, tangible results, there is also something to be said for a long-term celebrity relationship. If a brand is looking to build ongoing support for a product or campaign, then a deeper, more meaningful celebrity relationship should be considered - particularly if a brand is interested in extending the partnership across all marketing channels. A 360-degree celebrity campaign with both public relations and advertising efforts allows for a more substantive collaboration.

With long-lasting partnerships, there is the potential for a greater upside for the celebrity, brand, and consumer. There is, of course, the intangible and immediate “cool factor” that comes from the amount of buzz created for a product by the celebrity partner. However, celebrities who have a vested interest in the brand – especially those who are impassioned by the company's mission and have the freedom to use their creativity to influence brand marketing – are committed to the brand's success. With this type of collaboration, there is the potential for the brand to become synonymous with the celebrity and this type of partnership can be invaluable.

The most important element in all celebrity relationships with brands is authenticity. You must know your brand, your celebrity partner, and, most importantly, your audience. If a consumer sees through the partnership or doesn't believe the celebrity actually enjoys or supports the product, all value has been lost. This is true for all branded entertainment plays. The authenticity and longevity of the partnership should always be a factor in deciding how and when to hire a celebrity spokesperson or participate in event sponsorships and product integrations.

Samantha Turtle is a senior entertainment specialist at Hunter Public Relations.

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