Ad Week Panel Examines Ups, Downs of Celebrity Endorsement


At the PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditorium during Advertising Week on Thursday at 2PM, Corbis hosted a panel entitled How Mega Celebs Are Boosting Mega Brands which explored how brands and celebrities are working together towards similar ends: boosting their visibility and connection with people.

On the panel were McCann Erickson EVP Chief Creative Officer Joyce King Thomas, Greenlight Director of Brand Strategy and Development Martin Cribbs, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Global Marketing Senior VP Robert Kaplan and Corbis Outline Publicist and Photographer Relations Megan Wiley. The panel was moderated by OK! Weekly Executive Website Editor Chris Morran.

This being a panel on high visibility celebrity, actual examples and details were understandably scarce but broad topics such as potential pitfalls for brands created by celebrity shenanigans were discussed. Insightfully and humorously, one of the panelists suggested the entire issue could be solved by using dead celebrities. While Disney didn't flinch too much over Miley Cyrus' semi-naked pictures or Vanessa Hudgens' naked one, the advice isn't bad in this current culture of crotch shots and other unpredictabilities.

Matching a celebrity to a brand has always been a difficult challenge and, as some would argue the appearance of Jerry Seinfeld in recent Microsoft ads would suggest, the pitfalls are many. According to another panelist, using "proven" celebrities such as Michael Phelps is one road to choose to mitigate such problems along with the challenge of trying to identify the next up and comer which is not an easy task.

The allure of using celebrities in advertising is hard to resist. It's clear they make an impact but that impact is highly dependent upon selecting the proper celebrity and matching the celebrity properly to the brand, also a challenge the panelists acknowledged.


Following the panel, I had the pleasure of lunching with Rosie Siman and Stacy Fuller from Translation, Steve Stout's brand imaging company. We had fun discussing music, celebrities and how the two can (or not) work together for a brand. All while eating amazing Gnocci.

by Steve Hall    Sep-26-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Celebrity, Industry Events   

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Your article was wayyy better than the panel itself!

Posted by: rosie on September 26, 2008 2:00 PM

Ha! Maybe I was in an unusually kind mood today;)

Posted by: Steve Hall on September 26, 2008 5:42 PM

Steve we just did an analysis of celebrities through BrandAsset Valuator, a brand database. The top celebrity according to Main Street is Oprah, the bottom, (surprise!) Britney Spears. Regardless of star power, agencies and clients first have to ask themselves if they have an idea to begin with. No star power can mask a bad idea. But it can magnify it. John

Posted by: john Gerzema on September 27, 2008 4:39 PM

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