If you are contemplating signing on a celebrity to be a part of your next PR campaign, be sure to weigh the risks involved.
Risks? Think about the possible undoing of Kevin Spacey, an Academy Award and Tony Award winner and most recently a star in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” He was accused last month first of making a sexual advance toward a 14-year-old actor, then other men came forth with similar accusations. As an immediate reaction, Netflix dropped “House of Cards” from its lineup.
And how about long-time comedian Bill Cosby, who was accused of sexual misconduct with several women. Although his trial ended with a hung jury, certainly his reputation was at the very least tarnished by the accusations and the associated publicity surrounding them.
Consider, too, the former FOX News political commentator Bill O’Reilly and the sexual harassment claims from more than one accuser, the famed golfer Tiger Woods’ alleged sexual transgressions and numerous professional football players who have been accused of domestic violence.
All of these individuals, now perhaps more infamous than famous, could have been and, in many cases, were spokespersons for various products. With their alleged storied past coming to light, each have lost some, if not all, of their product endorsements. And each represent living examples of the risk a PR professional takes if he chooses this type of campaign.
Yet, reasons to employ a celebrity spokesperson are still valid. For one, it can be very profitable.
According to a Marketwatch claim in Social Media Week and the findings of a similar study by Harvard University, just one endorsement can boost sales by 4 percent, almost immediately, as well as boost the company’s stock prices.
Among other things, bringing on a celebrity builds awareness of the brand and boosts its credibility.
“Building brand awareness through a celebrity spokesperson will gain a brand instant publicity. In the long-term, it will encourage more and more customers to find out more about the business their favorite celebrity happens to be supporting,” said Forbes magazine contributor A.J. Agrawal in an April 2016 article. “There are many people who will buy an item just because a celebrity told them to.”
So, as you embark on the challenging task of creating a new PR campaign for a client, think about how you can create a strong, successful campaign with the myriad elements at hand, including the possibility of pursuing a celebrity endorsement. Just be cognizant of the pitfalls of engaging a celebrity in your campaign and let the creativity flow.