Nadia Padayachi

Celebs' stamp of approval

2005-01-21 11:05

These days celebrities don't only make tons of dosh from just acting or singing. That only happens in the beginning.

If they make it big the offers to collaborate start rolling in. Perfumes, food, drinks, clothing, lingerie - the scope for celebrity endorsements is endless. This has been on the steady increase internationally for years now, and is slowly starting to come to our shores.

I don't know how effective these endorsements are though. Seeing Britney, Beyoncé and Pink drinking Pepsi isn't really going to spur me on to buy one the next time I'm out. I'll drink it if it tastes good.

Though I must add that if there was a chance of me chatting to the delectable Brad Pitt while making a donation to the Red Cross in aid of the victims of the tsunami disaster, I definitely wouldn't mind.

There are several brands in SA who have tapped into the celeb culture to further their brands: Tommy Hilfiger has many brand ambassadors (Ursula Stapelfeldt; Kuli Roberts; Nicole Fox), Wonderbra (Kerry McGregor was one of the first endorsements I can recall), Citroën (Arno Carstens), Lux (Michelle Mclean) and there are a few more to the list.

Help or hinder?

The problem with these kinds of deals is that although it provides the opportunity for a brand to excel, at the same time it could hinder things. Those who might be interested in a Citroën could be put off because they don't associate with rocker Carstens, others don't care.

Is there an emotional reaction when seeing a celebrity endorse a product/service/organisation-perhaps on a superficial and unconscious level? Perhaps all it provides is a glossy, fluffy and maybe impressive make-over. Whether it sells more cars or bras or lotion is questionable.

If the black lace push-ups don't fly off the shelves in the hands of every teen, mother, boyfriend, and husband, are celebrities effective? And if not, if they don't draw in the hordes, are they celebrities? Are they just well-known people who appear on the box every Thursday night and sometimes in the glossies?

We as the public are greedy to know more about these people, and in a sense this is meeting this need. Are these celebs being shoved in our faces and all we can do is accept, or is this what we want?

Should celebrities be out there backing these products or should they stick to what they do best instead of exploiting opportunities for more, more, more?

  • Nadia Padayachi is a publicist at a Cape Town publicity agency.

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