The power of celebrity endorsement

BY GREER MCDONALD
Last updated 10:35 17/02/2011

Does anyone else cringe when they see Kiwi league legend Stacey Jones on the TV screen fronting for personal loan provider Instant Finance?

StaceyI know it's been debated before but they must have just started a new round of advertising or something because I seem to be getting bombarded with Jones' smiley face.

It amazes me that even after all the hoopla, the endorsement continues. 

Here we have a guy who is laden with respect in New Zealand representing a company which has been accused of targeting the poor. 

I guess it's clever of Instant Finance though; I mean the company reportedly has 26,000 customers, many of which are described as being "low social-economic demographics" and "in-need" families.

It's no real shock then that South Auckland accounts for about 40 per cent of the client base and is also the suburb most-famed for its loyal support of rugby league.

Clever Instant Finance, very clever.

As someone who has quite openly struggled with money issues, I take issue with the way Instant Finance has pitched itself - but I guess that comes with the territory. They're a business, they have to make a profit - but at what cost to the community?

Sell-out or not, it got me thinking about other celebrity thumbs up deals. We might say that in the case of Stacey Jones most of us can see past the celeb factor and see why the company chose them, but in a lot of cases - do we get blinded by it? 

trumpetRachel Hunter and her shampoo commercials spring to mind, although don't make me want to purchase the product (Her hair always looks out of control to me - even in the adverts!). She succeeded in one thing though: ensuring the saying 'It won't happen overnight but it will happen' remains firmly entrenched in Kiwi lexicon. 
But Hunter promoting a Trumpet ice-cream? Hell yeah. Anytime you show me a model eating anything it's likely to flick so auto-switch in my head which declares 'You could eat this and be pretty too!'.

Richard Long fronting for the bombed Hanover Finance was a bit of a fail - but another interesting concept in what and who Kiwis place their trust in. He was the right-hand-man, news reading partner to the 'Mother of the Nation' for goodness sake! If you can't trust him, who can you?

Former athlete Jayne Kiely and NZ's Next Top Model cast-off Ruby Higgins almost have me sold on Postie Plus (OK they don't but their wholesome personalities will do wonders for the brand) while Jockey must be utterly stoked to have Dan Carter and his super-hot fiancee Honor Dillon strutting around almost nude for their brand.

Speaking of All Blacks, everything they touch (Mmm, those yummy Rexona ads, Weet-Bix, various charities and clothing labels) seems to turn to consumer gold really doesn't it?

So tell me, whose celeb endorsements do you think have failed or succeeded? Have you deliberately used or avoided brands because of the public face they have chosen to represent it?

Email me here if you have any burning questions you'd like to put to the blogosphere or to our financial personal trainers at enableMe? 

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27 comments
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Jarren Burns   #1   11:26 am Feb 17 2011

Greer, where have you been? Your posts make me go lady gaga.

Patricia   #2   11:30 am Feb 17 2011

If I see another advert with the bloody All Blacks ranting about how fit they are and how awesome a team they are I will puke. I refuse to buy any product endorsed by them. So unoriginal and lame. Branding laziness.

Yes I also hate the Stacey Jones I.F adverts, not just clever but also perhaps raises interesting thoughts about business ethics.

Ha the Rachel Hunter shampoo adverts, and the not so cleverly hidden computer effects. Still hate Pantene. I'm sick of Rachel Hunter, we have other beuatiful and much more intresting NZ woman out there.

Personally I think bringing in a celebrity to endorse a brand is cheesey and not very creative. Actually puts me off a brand, even if I like the celebrity.

kristen   #3   12:03 pm Feb 17 2011

Yes! - the Pantene thing has always been a mystery to me. Rachel Hunter's hair always looks like it's overrun with split ends - seems like a very bizzare way for Pantene to promote their products.

no_comment   #4   12:10 pm Feb 17 2011

Advertising doesnt effect my spending habits at all, however the only 'celeb' ads i have any respect for are the owners who have the balls to put themselves out there for their brand. See Michael Hill, Vince Martin, Mike Pero etc.

Alfonso Delgardeo   #5   12:13 pm Feb 17 2011

NZ Sportsmen/women endoresements may be worth their weight in gold, but when they try to run businesses they don't seem to have the same level of success. Chris' Harris & Cairns, Ali Williams, Dan Carter etc etc. It does seem that (so far) Adam Parore's mortgage broking business is still running (I think,haven't checked).

Yes, Stacey Jones should be highly embarrassed about taking money for fronting I.F. 30% int rate!

AndiNZ   #6   12:20 pm Feb 17 2011

I have actively avoided buying some products because I hate their advertising (and I am still boycotting Cadbury because of the whole palm oil debacle), but I don't think I've ever done it just because of the celebrity they've chosen to represent them.

OTOH, I've never consciously bought a product on the strength of celebrity endorsement. Subconsciously - well, who knows? The odds must be better than even.

Karlos   #7   12:41 pm Feb 17 2011

What about Colin Meads doing the Provincial Finance ads - "Solid as I reckon". So solid that they went into receivership!

The only celebrity endorsement I've ever believed was for the Total Gym because Chuck Norris endorsed it. If Chuck says it's good then that's all I need to know haha.

C   #8   12:53 pm Feb 17 2011

Katie Perri and the cleanser ads? I thought that was strange... I don't want the product, but the fact they've got her to do the advertising?

Just saw that as different, I guess.

C   #9   12:53 pm Feb 17 2011

PS: Good to have you back, Greer! Have missed your blogs!!

wat   #10   01:20 pm Feb 17 2011

@ no-comment: Vince Martin. Really?!


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