Celebrity endorsements: pros and cons

Celebrity endorsements: pros and cons

Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Paris Hilton, Kirstie Alley. Advertisers have long hitched their brand wagon to celebrities, hoping some of the attention these stars attract will rub off on them. But as the recent Don Imus “nappy-headed hos” affair made clear, there is a definite downside to associating your brand with controversial celebrities like Imus, Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh.

“You hope they don’t go off the deep end like Imus, but advertisers want to be associated with something that gets them attention,” explains Reshma Shah, assistant professor of marketing at Emory’s Goizueta Business School.

As Shah correctly points out, Imus’s firing wasn’t necessarily a direct result of what he said, but because the advertisers dropped him. “The show’s outlets realized that if they didn’t let him go, they’d have an even bigger financial problem,” she says.

Thinking of hiring a celebrity to represent your brand? Shah offers some advice:

“Think long and hard about finding the right fit,” adds Shah. “They’re communicating your image and your promise. You don’t mess with that.”

UPDATE: In my original post, I forgot to link to the Emory article, so I added it above. Here it is again if you missed it.

  1. EricEric06-09-2007

    Paris Hilton is an unintentional and unwelcomed spokesbrat for the Hilton Hotels brand now. Full take down and commentary on the subject here:

  2. AnonymousAnonymous06-09-2007

    It is truly amazing that you believe Don Imus went off the deep end. Do you know what CBS is losing each day due to ratings because of his illegal firing? Or are you listening to the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jacksons of this world? Don Imus made a mistake, he apologized and was forgiven by the ones who were allegedly offended. Both MSNBC and CBS can’t find anyone that will fit his style to attract the audience he had and will soon again.

    Bruce from Florida

  3. LareeLaree06-09-2007

    Are you serious, why do you think the ratings are down at CBS NBC and MSNBC you need to google: Don Imus left and took his audience with him…MSNBC lost 50% of it’s viewers went from 316,000.00 to 177,000.00…Multichannel News- Viewers Demand Imus. There is a boycott going on right now if you go to SupportImus.org and scroll down to the links at the bottom of the page, you will find many links there is one called, We Will Have Action…people are boycotting the networks and his sponsors who deserted him. Do you have any idea how big his demographic is? Imus has been on radio over 30 years..so he has Radio demographics..his children charities, he has helped alot of people..the intreped heros fund, the fisher house his reporting on Walter Reed. The Autism communtity…The people who don’t like censorship and like free speech..the people who were entertained by Imus in the Morning. I would do some more research if I were you…the mainstream media is not reporting the real story behind what happend to Imus and the Imus Crew, it has been superficial to say the least..Imus fans know what happened. I have been blogging about Imus since his firing please feel free to read my blogs including a blog devoted to Imus links.

  4. FreeImusFreeImus06-09-2007


    What would you rather work with advertisers or an audience? MSNBC and WFAN (CBS) both chose advertisers but what value does a broadcast outlet offer if it has no audience.

    Lesson 1: If you have an audience you can always find advertisers.

    Both MSNBC and WFAN are now feeling the effects of rash decision making. Its too early to predict the overall impact to these broadcasters. However the direction they are headed in looks a lot like business disaster.

    Lesson 2: to broadcasters the real danger is to not be loyal to your audience.

    I’ve owned Fords my whole life, based on Imus’ recommendation I purchased a GM brand car (~$50K). I no longer have the car serviced by the dealer. When it comes time for a new car it will not be a GM branded car.

    Lesson 3: for advertisers the real danger is in not being loyal to your customers.

  5. Ms. MMs. M06-09-2007

    and why did the advertisers “drop” him? ….because threats mean more than a man’s word & bond these days?, I’m old enough where I remember where any publicity was good publicity & the duplicitous nature of the american public, I think that more than ever applies….the only persons truly concerned with political correctness & decency are those if the truth were know it would hurt them the most….Sharpton may have threatened & the sponsors may have responded but those who are tired of our CHOICE being messed with, in the name of “decency”, are giving MSNBC/CBS & KNOWN sponsors a REAL BOYCOTT…I think that the accepted apology & the resulting action scream volumes about the “character & high standards” of MSNBC/CBS….as well, Mr. Roker who is taking credit for the Imus firing, just opened up his big mouth & I just don’t believe apologies cut it anymore, HIS standard, not mine….so will he do the right thing & resign or do we demand he be fired too?….I will go briefly into the precident Sharpton, Roker, Obermann, etal, helped establish compliments of mediamatters.org….Careful what you say, & don’t expect an apology to be enough anymore….what happened to Imus was disgraceful & certainly not in keeping with a Nation established on freedoms long fought for….BOYCOTTING MSNBC/CBS/SPONSORS who caved to a threat, Ms.M

  6. AnonymousAnonymous06-09-2007

    When the choice to listen/watch ‘Imus in the Morning’ was taken away from me, I decided immediately to let my protest be known by choosing to no longer watch MSNBC, NBC and CBS or listen to WFAN radio. I also chose to no longer buy products made and/or sold by Proctor & Gamble, GE, GM, Staples, Verizon, Nextel or American Express. Wherever Imus and the gang end up, I’ll be there to watch and/or listen and to buy the products that sponsor his program.
    In this case, Reshma Shah says that “The show’s outlets realized that if they didn’t let him go, they’d have an even bigger financial problem.”
    What the advertisers didn’t count on was that the millions of Imus fans, who had their choice taken away from them, have now chosen to no longer give their money to those sponsors who dropped him. How is that working out for them now?

  7. AnonymousAnonymous06-09-2007

    It was a very bad business decision to remove Imus from the air. I haven’t watched MSNBC since that fateful day nor bought any products labeled Proctor & Gamble. The fans of the show were ignored in this decision and so very few listeners are left to buy any of the products advertised.

  8. Linda SLinda S06-09-2007

    I agree with ms.m – you need to do more homework. Imus sold more books than almost anyone else – he raised huge amounts of money for charities. He could get his fans to buy or donate to anything. Now his fans are boycotting his sponsors. If everyone had just held tight for a while, this would have all been gone by now and you wouldn’t have been piling on the “Get Imus” bandwagon.

  9. KathyKathy06-10-2007

    Imus didn’t “go off the deep end.” He has more wisdom and insight than anyone I’ve ever heard in broadcasting. He is a living legend and his extensive work raising money for charity is admirable. He also keeps his audience informed about what is going on in the world and he tells it like it is. Imus has millions of fans who await his return. MSNBC’s ratings TANKED because of their misguided and frankly idiotic decision to dump Don Imus.
    Until they bring him back, I am boycotting MSNBC, also Proctor and Gamble and Staples to name a few.

  10. Laree LeeLaree Lee06-10-2007

    I forgot no one is real happy that MSNBC took the man off in the middle of his telethon for Children’s Charitys..way to go and alienate viewers i.e. consumers..it takes 21 days to make anything a habit. I have new habits and it isn’t watching CBS/NBC/MSNBC or buying products from the Sponsors who deserted Imus and Imus Crew…I wonder over the years just how much MONEY Imus made for them? He didn’t get treated well in kind. How many people do you think are effected by Cancer,SIDS,Asthma,Autism…How about The Wounded coming home from the War? How many (Free Speech Advocates) don’t want Minority Special Interest Groups, like Al Sharpton respresents, deciding who they get to view and listen to? Free Speech, if you pass Rev Al’s Smell test? Self Appointed Morals Police for the American Airwaves? Didn’t the Taliban try the Morals Police, thing in Afghanastan..how did that work out for them? Imus is up for a lifetime achievement award for Radio…why because he was on Radio for more then 30 years and he has an audience..new and old. Imus entertained people on top of all of this, so how big, do you think his demographic listening audience is? Imus made a Joke- Unlike all the hysterical people- Addicted to the Drama People, who responded to his joke, they made themselves into a joke.

  11. jmccaul1jmccaul106-10-2007

    I know that personally I paid attention to the advertisers who bailed out on Imus and have not patronized any of them since. I passed over a pick up truck I was very interested in at GM and purchased a Subaru Wagon instead. Gone are the Crest, Pantene, Gillette products for my house along with every other P&G brand I can identify. I dropped shopping at Staples. I don’t watch Msnbc any more and they were my primary cable news network. Further, I don’t listen to any CBS radio, or watch
    CBS or NBC television. As a result of what happened to Imus I am developing new watching, listening and buying habits. Thus, I will continue my real boycott of these products. I believe there is a deeper assault taking place on free speech in the Imus case and from all of the people I have found on the internet who think as I do I know I am not alone.

  12. AnonymousAnonymous06-10-2007

    I would not describe don imus actions as “going off the deep end.” Too bad more people are not passionate about worthy causes and thru their actions give respect where respect is due. He was obviously regretful for his off the cuff remarks and if he had been allowed would have shown in his actions is true character.

  13. AnonymousAnonymous06-10-2007

    fridays post was advice from an aging hippie to keep if fun…too bad MSNBC/CBS didn’t take that nugget of advice prior to firing Imus who not only kept it FUN but REAL too….or was the REAL too the problem? I mean mediamatters.org did unleash the “spokesperson” for the black community, Sharpton, in the name of “decency”…& a “racist” was borne, not that description could ever fit the spokesperson eh? I’ll bet MSNBC/CBS is having a lot of fun explaining to sponsors & shareholders the difference between a threatened boycott & the REAL DEAL eh? well at their expense fans & supporters of Imus are having a bit of fun & can’t wait till the ICON returns when the REAL FUN will begin in the name of TRUTH…REALLY BOYCOTTING MSNBC/CBS

  14. BobbieBobbie06-10-2007

    “Imus in the Morning” was part of my family’s routine for many years. Since he was so unfairly treated and dismissed, I can no longer watch TV in the morning without feeling physically sick. Hence, I have begun to systematically eliminate all products associated with the advertisers who are allegedly responsible for silencing this talented man and his crew. After 40 plus years I no longer choose to buy Olay products and many others that I grew up using. (Bye, Bye, Tide) My entire family is giving up on a ten year cell phone company. (Verizon, can you hear me now?) The I-Man’s supporters may not be important to all these advertisers, but we are mad as hell. And, since forgive and forget is not the appropriate response anymore, ……… We miss you, Don Imus, and are eagerly awaiting your return.

  15. AnonymousAnonymous06-10-2007

    It’s been 58 days, 12 hours, 36 minutes and 53 seconds and counting since Imus has been taken off the air. Does it sound like his fans are going anywhere? I don’t think so. Imus fans are like (I think) Nascar fans we’re faithful, loyal viewers/listeners and support those sponsers that support our Man.

    I don’t think the advertisers realized how many millions of fans Imus has. Instead they listened to “threats” from Sharpton. Unbelievable! Who is he anyway…what has he done? March..don’t get me started! The only reason Al went after Imus so hard was because he didn’t what Hillary on his show. I believe that’s it in a nut shell. (MediaMatters).

    Imus is not only a good person but a great humanitarian as well. Imus has the best interviews that you just can’t get with any other media. Imus has that way to let you know about a book where you actually would buy it. His music, well he loves music and the artists he had on, if you didn’t know about them you did now and would buy their music. Imus is the real deal and a true friend unlike those who didn’t speak up for him…like Tim Russert, just to name one.

    He is nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award and I pray to God he wins. (I don’t care who knows I pray to God either.) We are so very proud of Imus and all the work he has done. Imus Ranch, CJ Foundation for SIDs, Tomorrows Children Fund, Intrepid Fallen Hero Fund, Hackensack Pediatric Onocolgy Center…I could go on and on. This man is truly a “giver” and not a taker (if you know what I mean “S”).

    All the cable outlets did polls about Imus and the funny thing is they never gave the results..wonder why beause they were all in favor of Imus by an overwhelming amount…

    This has gotten me so upset it’s sometimes hard to be a lady!

    We (his fans) will continue to boycott MSNBC, CBS and any sponsers on our lists. We will continue to spread the word until our Imus is back on the air.

    Advertisers should have listened to us (millions) and not just a “few”.

  16. DarceyDarcey06-10-2007

    Well I have gone off the deep end…I am boycotting MSNBC, CBS, NBC AND STAPLES, AMERICAN EXPRESS, P&G and I traded my GM for a Ford.
    They should have cared about Imus fans. Where ever Imus shows up I will be there.Procter & Gamble can have the racist hater Sharpton.

  17. AnonymousAnonymous06-21-2007

    Female 34 years old and missing Imus and Bernie. Boycotting until they come back.

  18. AnonymousAnonymous06-21-2007

    We are 34 and 38, I’m conservative and my husband is liberal we both loved Imus in the Morning. Our mornings are empty now. Please someone bring him back to us.

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