Case Studies

In today’s celebrity obsessed culture, a famous face instantly makes a product more newsworthy – whether a personality is photographed using their chosen product in everyday life, or in staged photos or appearances. In a market saturated with celebrity images, use of the right face provides immediate recognition. Brands aim to draw on this recognition factor to increase the ‘halo effect’ of the recognition around their product.

A great example of a successful product endorsement is the “George Foreman Grill.” This indoor grill has turned out to be one of the hottest products on the market for years. Foreman first introduced the Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine in 1994 through a TV campaign of late-night infomercials. This was the same product that kitchen product design company, Salton Inc., had promoted a few years prior at industry trade shows to an uninterested public. Foreman, as the brand’s front man, brought the product to the public’s attention in a way that Salton was unable to do.

Recently Twitter, the social networking site was part of sports marketing history. Shaquille O’Neal announced in a tweet, that he had signed an endorsement deal with Enlyten, the electrolyte strip brand. The only people ranked ahead of O’Neal are Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Barack Obama and Jimmy Fallon. What is unique about O’Neal breaking the endorsement deal on Twitter is that it’s believed to be the first time an athlete has reported such a deal without the typical middleman — the media. O’Neal is one of the most popular athlete in the Twitter world. O’Neal currently has more than 500,000 people following him on Twitter, which ranks as the eighth biggest following on the entire site. Instantly fans and followers had a new awareness for the Enlyten brand. This is an interesting case study of an endorsement layered in with social media messaging, allowing Enlyten to reach a larger audience than ever before.

David Beckham, international soccer star, was a longtime endorser of Pepsi, Adidas, and Gillette. These are three brands easily associated with the image of a superstar athlete. Then Beckham made a surprising move when he took part in an endorsement campaign for Disney. David Beckham’s first endorsement upon the announcement of his move to the US was a still photo campaign depicting the soccer star as a dragon-slaying prince for Disney. The three images, which formed part of Disney Parks’ “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign, were featured as an insert in the March issues of magazines including Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, W, The New Yorker and Conde Nast Traveler. It was an unlikely pairing of celebrity and product that makes this an interesting case study. Beckham was able to instantly add a “cool” factor to the Disney brand, and make it appealing for fans of all ages, but specifically and most importantly, male sports fans and females who follow celebrity lifestyles.

In these case studies, celebrity credibility is subconsciously transferred to the brand – increasing consumer trust of the product, as well as awareness. Use of the right celebrity can accelerate brand-building more quickly than a marketing plan not using these types of images.