The Dangers of Celebrity Endorsers and the Wisdom of Crisis Planning
You work hard to bring unique promotional products to the marketplace every day. Ideas that help differentiate your customers from their competitors. At the same time, whether you are a supplier or a distributor, a little of that differentiation rubs off on you, too. After all, you want to be viewed as a “Value-add” partner in the industry—someone who always has something to catch a customer’s eye.
You always hope the attention is positive, of course. But, just when you think nothing could go wrong with your brilliant idea, it does. Due to something totally out of your control.
As a random example, let’s say that you’ve worked closely with a transportation company. You’ve provided a wide variety of brand merchandise for their taxi division, and the customer is really pleased. Even better, ridership is way up. The customer decides to take a real chance and goes for a celebrity endorsement. For the sake of this discussion, let’s say they secure one of the stars of the popular TV series “Taxi,” none other than Danny DeVito. You’re instructed by the client to gear up for a whole new campaign—soft goods, die-cast taxis, drinkware, etc., all bearing his likeness. You find out that the launch of these products will luckily coincide with Mr. DeVito’s appearance on the national TV morning show “The View.” This could be exciting—not to mention profitable.
But then, you find out that the TV appearance you thought would be such a good thing, was actually a disaster.
In real life, Danny DeVito was doing some TV appearances recently and behaved very oddly. According to several news reports, DeVito appeared to be suffering the effects from the previous night out on the town. In the midst of the discussion on live TV, he mentioned an overindulgence specifically of Limoncello. Then, in a really bizarre twist, rather than choosing a strategy of public relations damage control, he apparently decided instead to launch his own line of Limoncello.
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.