The Weatherproof Garment Company decided to use the wrong celebrity for endorsement this week. As reported in the NY Times, “the Weatherproof Garment Company installed a billboard in Times Square on Wednesday showing President Obama wearing what appears to be one of its coats.”
“This ad is clearly misleading because the company suggests the approval or endorsement of the President or the White House that it does not have,” said a White House aide.
Whether it was a good or bad move, it definitely garnered publicity.
In an ironic twist considering recent news happenings, we now have a company embarrassing (or in this case misusing) an endorser.This morning while using my wife’s new erg, I was informed by Headline News that Charlie Sheen was being dropped from Fruit of the Loom ads for allegations of recent knife wielding domestic abuse. Add him to a list led by Tiger Woods and others, and having a celebrity sponsor is clearly a gamble.
So that’s my point – advertiser beware. What looks good today may attack, sleep with about 17 people they’re not married too, or generally embarrass themselves and you in the process tomorrow.
It’s clearly a difficult decision. Prinivil used Cal Ripken Jr. to endorse their anti-hypertensive and it surely helped the brand. It helped the brand less, however, when it was found that Ripken never took Prinivil and the FDA let them and others know it.
Magic Johnson was used in a campaign that we worked on with GSK for Combivir. The brand, patients and GSK benefitted from Magic’s association. Yet when Magic moved on from GSK, off of Combivir, and into the hands of a competitive product what was the real cost of working with him?
Some simple and seemingly obvious points on celebrity endorsements include:
1) Do your homework. Do it again. And, only then approach the potential celebrity.
2) Make sure the celebrity is credible and uses your product.
3) A morals clause in a contract is standard. Add a refund or damage clause for actions outlined in the morals clause.
4) As celebrities are alluring and exciting to work with, ask some people who don’t like, know or care about the celebrity in question and see what they think.
Now, I’m off to explain to my kids why that guy on Two and a Half Men who was actually cool enough to be in an ad with Michael Jordan is now not so cool.