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There’s no denying that celebrity sells and with advertising seen as bombardment and excessive, many organisation are turning to alternative tactics in order to promote their brands or services. Celebrity endorsement is nothing new in promotion, but it is something to approach with a strong vision and an eye for results. It is much more than putting a face to a brand.

As a general overview a company pays a large sum of money to a particular celebrity who is likely to appeal to the particular target audience in which the product or service is aimed at. As an example – the University of Gloucestershire (where I currently study) could consider using Kate Thornton as a celebrity endorser. Not only is Kate a popular face on national television but she is local to the area and presents a wholesome and like-able image. Kate Thornton is often seen on television programmes that appeal to a young audience and is generally a known television figure making her an ideal choice for acting on behalf of the University.

While this sounds simple enough and can have beneficial and financially viable results it is important to understand the complications that can and do arise with celebrity endorsement campaigns. Typical examples of endorsement gone wrong are instances where sports stars have been the face of sports brands and in time, the celebrity is excused of having affairs or acting in a socially unacceptable way. Unfortunately for the brand, this is an uncontrollable issue which needs to be considered before contracts are signed and money exchanges hands.

Additionally the internet has completely changed the role of celebrity endorsement. A simple tweet or comment from a celebrity with millions of followers can have huge results and conversation can spread globally. That said it is also crucial to understand that the transparency of the internet means celebrity scandal can be easily uncovered and one 140 character post on twitter can be just as damaging as a slip of the tongue. Your celebrity may sign a contract and agree to be loyal to your chocolate bar but six months later, they post a picture on twitter where they are seen to be eating a competing brand.

Working out if celebrity endorsement is right for you? It’s a balancing act and all strengths and weaknesses should be laid out before an organisation goes forward. The internet has complicated the ideal of celebrity endorsement and with consumer-created celebrities also dominating headlines and online social networks organisation needs to be fully aware of the lack of control, risks and final measurement of the endorsement campaign.

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