Insights / branding

Celebrity Endorsements: Avoiding Negative Branding

Celebrities have it made, don’t they? Not only do they get all the fame and glamor, but they’re also courted by some of the biggest brands on the planet who offer them large sums of money to endorse their products.

Wear Nike shoes and you’ll hit as well as Tiger Woods.

Drink Pepsi and you’ll dance just like Michael Jackson.

Eat Kellogg’s and you’ll swim your way to the gold like Michael Phelps.

Apply MAC makeup and you’ll be as fabulous as Lady Gaga.

You get the idea. However, there’s a lot of danger that comes along with a celebrity endorsement, because, simply put, celebrities are unpredictable. Kellogg’s gave Michael Phelps the boot after his stoner bong-hit-a-thon ways, yet Nike stood by Tiger’s side after his sexcapades. Most brands disassociate themselves if a celebrity goes bad – it just makes sense to do so. The brand is in control, most of the time, and signs the check.

Don’t get me wrong, there are celebrity endorsements that make perfect sense. It almost has to be kismet when aligning your brand with a celebrity. They have to share the same philosophies, image, and so forth. MAC and Lady Gaga go hand-in-hand.

But what do you do if you have no control over your brand and who it’s being associated with? One such example is the recent development between Abercrombie & Fitch and the clowns from the Jersey Shore. The cast of Jersey Shore, particularly Mike “The Situation” wears a lot of A&F gear. How do you stop it?


Abercrombie & Fitch has put out a statement offering the cast of Jersey Shore a “substantial payment” to stop wearing their clothing. Get the full article here. Pretty bold, but it’s also pretty clever on Abercrombie’s end to gain some nice publicity from it.

Often times many of our clients will look to a celebrity endorsement as a way of increasing the awareness of their event, brand or product. They’ll also look to us for our recommendation and it’s our job as the professional to offer sound advice and throw caution to the wind when going down this road.