The power of celebrity endorsement

22:31, Feb 16 2011

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

I 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? 

Rachel 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? 

» You can follow Greer on Twitter or on Facebook.

» Follow NZStuffBlogs on Twitter and get fast updates on all Stuff blogs.