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Why Don’t We Just Hire a Celebrity Spokesperson?

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I still wouldn’t have enough money to hire a celebrity spokesperson. Don’t get me wrong, I see the appeal. Glomming on to Kim K’s 1 Gazillion Instafollowers would be like strapping your brand to a SpaceX Rocket. One that actually takes off.But you might be better off buying the actual rocket. Better yet, some people have more success building the rocket – that way you get to fly it, Homer Hickam. Let’s ride this whole rocket analogy a bit further.

Howard Walowitz, Astronaut Extraordinare

Howard Walowitz, Astronaut Extraordinare

1) They Don’t Come Cheap

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that a celeb spokesperson is going to charge you $250,000 for their fee. For context, Mrs. Yeezy was rumored last year to start negotiations at a cool million; but perhaps we can funnel just 10k into a well-timed tweet.

So are we good to go at a quarter of a mil? Not so fast. You bought a ticket on a Virgin Galactic flight, but you still need a space suit, some astronaut training and, of course, you want to tell all of your friends and family that you are headed to space. SPACE! Better budget another $50-$100k for marketing and communications, just to be safe.

2) Unlike Costco, There are No Freebies

By now you are starting to think about how to do this whole thing on the cheap, because you don’t want to spend your entire annual marketing budget on a risky endeavor.

You convince yourself that Mr. Peanut will want to work with you for free because you are the Nut Council and he will most certainly advance his brand from this most perfect union. Think of the exposure he will get!



I’m going to let The Oatmeal tackle this one…but please don’t ask a professional to work for free. Just don’t.

They are sought-after because they work hard to shape their personal brand for maximum benefit. Their face, their audience, their time, their tweets – it is all the currency of celebrity. And they command top dollar for putting it to use and aligning themselves with your brand.

3) They Are Human

Remember our space conversation? You are strapping your brand to your celeb’s rocket. Sometimes they are superstars (see what I did there) and sometimes they fall to earth in a fiery ball of crisis and litigation. Names like Jared and A-Rod are case study cautionary tales.

When someone’s personal or professional life starts to unravel, just watch how fast their endorsers jump ship. Back in the day, a celeb could issue a heartfelt apology and find their way back into our good graces. Today, not so much. Not even DWTS can put Paula Deen back on a ham.

According to a Forbes article last year, a University of Colorado Boulder study found that it doesn’t always add up to align your brand with a celeb. So many smart people in Boulder! (Shameless pandering to our OMA-Boulder team.)

“The overall message to marketers is be careful, because all of us, celebrities or not, have positives and negatives to our personalities, and those negatives can easily transfer to a brand,” said research leader Margaret C. Campbell, who teaches at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

Here’s how one of our astute Worldcom partners put it when asked about the pros and cons of celebrity spokespeople.

“Celebrities can be a great asset for visibility — or a highly visible liability. While backfires are rare, they’re common enough that an extraction plan, including a strong contract, are a must.”

Bottom line is that you have to weigh your own risk-reward equation for your brand and determine if the stars align with your celeb of choice. And if the math just doesn’t add up, have no fear, we have a few suggestions to help boost your brand and Build Your Own Rocket 101 in next week’s blog!Have a celeb horror story or home run of your own? Share it with us!