Brand Ambassadors - Rises and Falls

July 13, 2015

Given the power held by social media personalities in the current marketing landscape, there is no doubt that employing the right celebrity to endorse a brand can be a highly effective form of marketing strategy. We beleive that the right partnership with an ambassador can be an extremely powerful influence your brands success. Upon recent research into the cycling apparel industry for a favourite client of ours, Navi, we couldn’t help but notice that brand ambassadors have become ubiquitous. We took a look at some recent examples to underpin exactly what makes a successful brand ambassador.

Charlize Theron for Capitol Grand

The new six-star property development by LK Property Group in South Yarra is funding a rumoured $3 million to feature Hollywood star Charlize Theron in their multimedia campaign with the tagline “lead me into temptation”. The campaign features a 4-minute film shot by Oscar-winning Australian cinematographer Dion Beebe. While we totally get the luxury partnership and the high-class brand they are trying to achieve, we have to question whether Theron is a true ambassador of the brand, or an expensive headline grab. After all, she did mistakenly reference the development as “Capitol Hill”, the home of the US White House, at her fleeting appearance for the developments launch at the Grand Prix earlier this year - Oops!

Gok Wan for Target

Target’s collaboration with international fashion stylist and TV presenter Gok Wan, provides a prime example of clever celebrity brand endorsement. Gok is a modern fashion icon who is much-revered for his taste and style. Target utilise him to help customers select wardrobe must-haves and key fashion pieces. The brand aims to represent themselves as “fun, modern, stylish, with something for everyone” and Gok is the embodiment of this. They also had him star in a branded TV special on Channel 7 titled “Style The Nation” in which he transformed women with a full style-makeover, offering tips and tricks on how to dress for their body shape and personality and including hair and make-up.

Oscar Pistorius for Nike

Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius was so acclaimed for his achievements as an athlete that he earned himself an ambassadorial role with Nike. The ad, which can be seen here, was promoted worldwide. But when the South African superstar was arrested after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead, it took Nike just 30 minutes to withdraw the advert from its website. It’s hard to find any real fault in Nike’s decision to take him on board, as at the time they were not able to predict such devastating unforeseen circumstances. This situation only highlights the inherent risks involved with taking on a brand ambassador, as you put a significant portion of your brand’s credibility in their hands.

Glenn McGrath for McGrath Foundation

The release of various Big Game Hunting photos of Glenn McGrath has created catastrophe and controversy in the cricketing world a few months ago. Photos show Glenn smiling next to the carcasses of a range of animals he personally hunted down and killed. The photos have understandably been met with shock, disgust and outrage. Well known for his McGrath Foundation that raises money and supports the fight against cancer, it is unknown just how deep the impact of the recent events will run on his brand name.

Reference: NY Daily News, SBS, Target, Got Celeb, The Hunter Stand