Pairing brands with well-known people! Is it a wise investment? Or fraught with danger? Yes, sometimes it’s a forced affair. But, when the stars do align, the result can be impressive. Whilst writing the piece on Charlie Sheen’s ad appearances, I started thinking about brands which have happily associated themselves with celebrities of one kind or another, with actors, comedians, musicians, models and sporting greats. Of course, there are a whole host of reasons why brands and celebs get together. The obvious one being that at least they can act – especially if they’re already in the entertainment business. But, more often than not, it’s about relevance; such as when a certain personality is just the perfect fit or, occasionally (and even better still), is so “perfectly wrong” for it.|
These ads usually leverage off some aspect of that person’s own world. And their direct endorsement – or mere appearance – can take any of the following forms: There’s the ‘celeb-totally-believes-in-our-product-or-message’ ad, the ‘celeb-embodies-our-proposition’ ad, the ‘it’s-part-of-the-movie-deal’ ad, the well-timed topical ad, the random comeback ad, the response/revenge ad, the pop culture-referencing ad, the ‘they’re-so-hot-right-now’ ad, or simply the ‘look-I-really-need-the-money’ ad So, let’s take a light-hearted look at a few examples where brands have decided to “buy association”. Each year, the Super Bowl of celebrity ads takes place during the sporting event itself. American football’s Super Bowl Sunday features some of the latest and largest star-studded commercials. In fact, these ads are as much a tradition as the beer, Doritos and bowls of chili. Why? Because so many eyeballs on the big game = bigger budgets = the biggest names.
Another daily staple is coffee, but it’s made all the more desirable when the ad is directed by Barry Levinson, tastefully shot in black and white in New York (like Woody Allen’s Manhattan), the music is Nick Drake’s Cello Song, and none other than Al Pacino (in his first product endorsement ever) puts in a naturalistic, non-performance.
Brisbane agency, The Hoopla Family, extracts a wonderfully ironic performance out of Warwick Capper in this one. [Memorable quote: “…and a few other fings!”] And, whilst we’re covering the headline grabbers, here’s Kate Moss as you wouldn’t normally see her: “shy”. [Memorable quote: “Is torcha!”] Speaking of models called Kate: Kate Fischer oozes nonchalance in this 1999 commercial for pasta sauce. Having just split from fiancé James Packer the previous year, it was a great little topical ad at the time. And nicely written. I quite like the almost-philosophical “Or… una” at the end.
For the sake of balance, here’s another one in the series, this time utilizing Jimmy Barnes – or, if you’d prefer, the parody version. Australians love a bit of irreverence. A lot, actually. And the best irreverence usually involves our more colorful sporting characters.
This example is interesting because, just as Foster’s leveraged off Boon’s personality and batting prowess, it was also (knowingly or not) saluting his beer drinking prowess, in particular, the infamous 52-cans-to-London flight record where he beat Rod Marsh’s total by a full six-pack – thereby further cementing his place in Australian folklore.
After the massively successful “Boonanza” campaigns (1&2), it didn’t end there. The now-cult like figure remained a boon to advertisers. More recently, we’ve seen him pop up in what you might describe as a “self-referential-piggy-backing-off-a-previous-leveraging-of-a-celebrity-trait” type of ad for a rival product!
For dessert, it’s retro style. Why don’t we go back even further, to the 60s and Stalag 13 where there’s more than canned laughter being served up by Hogan’s Heroes? Finally, loveable, low-key comedian Ellen DeGeneres debunks the myth, that in television, one should never work with animals. So, when it comes to purchasing, what are we buying? The product, the creative idea, or the “association” with a particular personality? What do YOU think? If you wish to read more about Buy Association - Pairing brands with well-known people then visit www.atmmarketing.com.au/blog/1096/brands/buy-association/
at+m is an integrated advertising and marketing agency in Tasmania and Victoria that provides communication strategies with a depth of thinking and creativity across all media. It offers creative advertising campaigns , Graphic, Corporate Design, brand identity, Sprintaprint, Direct Mail, etc.
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