Tag Archives: Tiger Woods

Celebrity Endorsements: Risky Business or Rewarding Endeavor?

When you think about Oreos, what comes to mind? America’s favorite cookie? Check. Glass of milk? Most definitely. Shaquille O’Neal? Not so much.

Well, Kraft Foods begs to differ. Just last week, Kraft released a 30-second commercial in which Shaq is teamed with Eli Manning, Venus Williams, and Apolo Ohno to defeat the mysterious “hooded menace” who threatens to overtake the affectionately termed Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL).

One would think that companies would be reluctant to pair up with a celebrity after the infamous “crash heard ‘round the world” and resulting backlash towards golf-legend Tiger Woods. Such is not the case, it seems. Agents and CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) will always get starry-eyed by the big names of “celebrity” because 1) brands love endorsements, and 2) consumers buy into “celebrity.”

Companies recognize the risk that comes with choosing the celebrity-endorsement approach; many have learned the hard way that it becomes a reflection of their brand. Putting a face to a name makes the brand recognizable; more so when that face is famous. According to Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School, some companies have seen their stock increase by .25% on the day an endorsement deal was announced. That doesn’t mean that every brand needs a celebrity-endorser; it has to be relevant to both the brand and the consumer.

However, celebrity endorsement is always worth investing in if you have the right person.

International pop star Lady Gaga is set to revive the instant camera for Polaroid as its Chief Creative Officer.

Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber lends his famous hair and unblemished face to Proactiv.

New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady relies on Smart Water when hitting the gym to train for (hopefully) another Super Bowl appearance.

According to marketing research firm Millward Brown, U.S. celebrities show up in more than 15% of advertisements. Not all of the appearances are in front of the camera, mind you. Sometimes, all a celebrity needs to do is be seen toting around a product or updating their Twitter account with a simple 140-character tweet.

American socialite Kim Kardashian spotted with an exclusive Hermès Birkin bag.

That 70’s Show actor Ashton Kutcher tweeted behind-the-scenes details about Popchips (snack food item).

Celebrities generate gossip and gossip requires word-of-mouth communication. If consumers are talking about a celebrity and can link him or her back to a brand, the emotional connection or self-expressive benefit that consumers feel for / towards the celebrity is transferred onto that brand. As you can see, this is 50/50 chance that marketers must gamble on. When a celebrity behaves (Shaq), the brand (Oreo) does well. But, in the case of celebrity misbehavior (*cough* Tiger Woods *cough*), the brand (Accenture, Nike, Tag Heuer) suffers.

With that said, reports show that celebrities still push products. But the question that marketers need to ask of consumers is: Would you buy a product based on a celebrity endorsement?

Written by Vicki Truong

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Communication is Key in Marriage and Divorce

By now you have probably heard that Mrs. Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren, will receive a divorce settlement of $750 million. Just for comparison’s sake, another famous athlete who is also a spokesman for Nike, has young children, is known for his reputation of being a “nice guy” and cheated on his wife with numerous mistresses – Michael Jordan – only had to pay his ex-wife, Juanita Vanoy, $168 million. Until now, this was the highest celebrity divorce settlement of all time. Nordegren is receiving nearly 4.5 times as much as Vanoy. However, in exchange for her ¾ of $1 billion, Nordegren is forbidden to ever publicly talk about the divorce.

Tiger is under the impression that he will be able to rebuild his reputation as long as she remains quiet. He probably will resume being the world’s best golfer and as time passes, people will forget about his scandalous past. He will continue to rake in millions, and the settlement probably has little effect on his financial situation. Okay, yes $750 million is a gargantuan amount of money and it has to have more than a little effect on his life. That being said, his lifestyle will remain the same, and that is probably what matters most to the man who had affairs with 17 women that we know of while married with two young kids.

Personally, there is nothing more I would love to read on a beautiful summer day than Nordegren’s accounts of their marriage. Normally, reading a former nanny/model’s memoir chronicling her marriage and divorce from one of the world’s richest athletes would not be at the top of my summer reading list. However, it would be too difficult to turn this one down.

Recently, there have been many headlines devoted to unfaithful celebrity husbands and their wives. Jesse James and Sandra Bullock, and former Senator John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards are just two couples who have taken different approaches to regaining their reputations post-marriage. Bullock has been the epitome of class since Michelle “Bombshell” McGee admitted she had an affair with Jesse James, Bullock’s husband of five years. She has made a few public appearances since the March scandal broke and has been met with standing ovations each time. Bullock has also talked to People Magazine about James’ infidelity, but that was overshadowed by her surprise adoption. She has been able to take a messy situation and through humor, has enabled the public to move on to the next story. In June, Bullock received the Generation Award at the MTV Movie Awards and she joked about some of the rumors that have been surrounding her lately – one of which said that she had died. To this, Bullock responded, “Can we please return to normal, and start making fun of me again?” In her speech, she acknowledged the controversy and concluded by saying, ‘enough about my life, let’s move on.’ Within three months of her scandal breaking, most attention has died down due to her open communication with the public and media.

Elizabeth Edwards has taken a different approach, and just recently said that Bullock’s strength has inspired her to move on. It seems as though Mrs. Edwards has talked to just about any magazine, newspaper or television show that will listen. Elizabeth has an incurable form of cancer, but her books, appearances and articles take focus away from finding a cure to wondering how her husband could have been unfaithful. She has received criticism from the press about why she continues to talk about Edwards’ infidelity. She has been talking about her husband’s affair for over a year now and shows no signs of stopping. I’m not sure what she’s hoping for with all of the attention, maybe money, maybe sympathy, but the more she continues to talk about it the more she’s preventing herself from moving on.

Last November, when Woods first crashed his car and all the women seemed to fall out of it, I followed the count of women just like the rest of America. Six months later, when women were still coming out of the woodwork, I felt like it was time for the story to die down. Now that the string of women has stopped (for now) I’m ready to hear her side. For a couple that valued privacy, they were the paparazzi’s favorite target. Like Mrs. Edwards, Nordegren would never have become a famous figure had it not been for her husband. Nordegren will not have the opportunity to publicly discuss Tiger’s infidelities like Elizabeth has. My guess is that she will follow Bullock’s example (not that she has a choice), which is to divorce him as quietly as possible and regain her life as she knew it before the media storm hit. $750 million is too much money to turn down, especially for someone who wants privacy so desperately.

My hope is that she will leave behind diaries with all of her feelings towards Woods that can be released after she dies or that she’ll say, ‘Forget the money. I want to destroy his reputation.’

Actually, my real wish is that I didn’t care about celebrities and their personal lives but in 2010, that is the world we live in.

Written by Rachel Licciardi

This blog only represents Rachel’s opinions, not those of Nickerson PME.