Posted by: graceroxasmorrissey | November 11, 2013

The cult/curse of personality

Celebrity endorsement can be like a magic bullet for the business of persuasion. If we subscribe to the idea that there has to be a healthy dose of reality to a pitch before we buy into it, what could be better than having someone real and larger than life to do the pitching?

You tap into an existing reservoir of goodwill that you hope will eventually rub off on the product you’re selling or cause you’re promoting. Even something like the Amazon forest that shouldn’t have to dip into anyone’s else’s goodwill bank can still benefit from having someone like Sting front for it. We become emotionally involved with saving the rainforest and part of it is because of this rock star sending out an SOS to the world.

You also get a pre-packaged story and spin. Someone like Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t even have to open his mouth to sell a deodorant. You immediately get the story of sweat and redemption, and if you don’t, you’re probably too young, too old or too female to identify with his deodorant anyway.

Just know that you are throwing in your lot with someone who might be more gifted than you are and living larger than you do but is still just another flawed human being.  The real-life foibles of an endorser with a Lance Armstrong-like baggage might well end up as your organization’s waking nightmare too.

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