Duck Dynasty: The Dangers of Tying Your Brand to Celebrities
For years companies and brands have been in love with the notion of associating their brands with celebrities. Nowadays, it's nearly impossible to browse the Internet, read a newspaper or magazine or turn on the television without seeing a celebrity endorsing a product or brand. Let's face it, celebrity sells. This is the main reason brands are quick to leverage the popularity of celebrities to create impactful and effective campaigns around them. With huge marketing budgets allotted to such campaigns, the question remains: Is it really worth it? While these types of campaigns are often successful for many brands, there are always risks associated with aligning your brand or product with a celebrity—and plenty of horror stories out there.
One such story in today's headlines is Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's indefinite suspension by A&E after an anti-gay rant that recently appeared in a GQ's interview, "What the Duck."
Walmart and other retailers carrying Duck Dynasty merchandise have raked in a massive $400 million dollars in sales due to the rabid passion of A&E's Duck Dynasty fans. Almost as soon as the rant became publication, GLAAD called upon A&E and its advertisers to rethink their ties with the show and its characters.
A&E quickly responded with the indefinite suspension and it remains to be seen what, if any, response we'll see from Walmart.
And here's the thing. Celebrities are great. They're great as long as they don't do or say anything stupid. Look at the Tiger Woods sex scandal and how sponsors and advertisers scrambled to divest themselves from Tiger and his tarnished image. And today, Tiger's still dealing with the ramifications of those choices and losing sponsorship deals as a result. Look at double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius, one of the most in-demand sports personalities in the world who, when charged with shooting his girlfriend, naturally saw sponsors dropping like flies.
Jeff is executive director of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Prior to that, he was responsible for developing safe and compliant brand merchandise for Michelin. He has worked with brands in publishing, consumer products, broadcasting and film for over 30 years. Follow Jeff on Twitter, and QCA on Facebook.