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Marketing lesson: a high-profile name won't always sell the product

Maybe makers of athletic shoes should take a breath and reduce things to simplest terms.

It might actually come down to one pointed and self-directed question, namely this: Do we want to seek profits by using high-profile entertainment industry endorsers to pitch pricey products, or might it be a safer bet to align other carefully selected endorsers with lower-priced goods?

For top-tier executives with companies like Nike, Foot Locker and Under Armour, the correct way to lean regarding that above question might reasonably seem to be staring them directly in the face in the wake of recent earnings reports.

Here's what happened to Foot Locker last Friday: The shoe manufacturer's stock price took a sharp dive downward, falling by more than 25%. And that dismal quarterly performance resulted notwithstanding that the company prominently uses basketball legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James to sing the praises of its highest-priced shoes.

Consumers aren't buying the pitch, either figuratively or literally. And the same is true at Under Armour, where global hoops icon Steph Curry hypes footwear.

Is there a moral to this story?

Perhaps, as one executive notes, lagging sales on expensive goods linked with famous people simply owe presently to a "challenging retail environment."

Perhaps, too, though, the companies bleeding red might have fallen prey to a recurring problem that exists in the realm of celebrity endorsements, namely, that not enough care was taken to optimally forge an endorser-product connection that positively resonated with the public.

Celebrity endorsements can be a bit of a slippery slope. When things click, company cash registers sing. And when they don't, well … reference that above-cited dismal earnings report from Foot Locker.

Any would-be marketer might reasonably want to solicit timely and studied input from an experienced entertainment law attorney, who can offer on-point and proven guidance that covers the spectrum of merchandising and sponsorship considerations.

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