Celebrity branding. Not always a good idea.

Sometimes companies use ‘celebrity branding’ to help people identify with the brand. The person that is going to be your ‘ambassador’ should have the same ‘aura’ your brand does. But what if your brand personality is getting bad press?

Gilette uses top athletes such as Roger Federer and Thierry Henry to promote that their razor blades are “The best a man can get”. And George Clooney is as dark and hot as Nespresso coffee.

Deals in celebrity branding often involve millions of euro’s, so choosing a celebrity to promote your brand shouldn’t be thought of too lightly. But even if you have carefully selected a ‘famous face’ for your brand, you still have to hope he/she doesn’t attract negative attention.

Two of the most recent and extreme examples are Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Woods was loaded with sponsors: Gilette, Tag Heuer, Nike, you name it. Everyone wanted a piece of the Woods pie. Until his sexual escapades came out. Only his most loyal sponsor Nike stayed by his side.

And then there is Lance Armstong. Seven times winner of the Tour de France. On drugs that is. At least, that is what the US Anti-Doping Agency as well as the UCI, the International Cycling Union, claim. All Armstongs victories have been taken away. And also, there go the sponsors: Nike, Trek bicycles, Anheuser-Busch and Oakley. He even had to distantiate himself from his own Livestrong organisation.

Will it damage the brands of the sponsors? Probably not. Only the Lance Armstrong brand has been tarnished. Most likely for good.

Knijff Merkenadviseurs

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