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Researching celebrity endorsements a different ballgame these days

The rise of social media has changed just about everything conceivable in modern life, allowing the public instant, universal and multi-dimensioned access to subject matter, coupled with the ability to interact in real time with it.

Don’t like a high-profile figure’s online input on a particular matter? Fire back, with the capacity to reach an inestimably large audience. Send that input to friends and acquaintances for their comments.

A recent article discusses the notably interesting topic of celebrity endorsements in the digital age, making this most fundamental point: Company executives trying to get a positive link between an endorser and a product have to be WAY more proactive and careful in their research and decision making than was once the case.

Because if they aren’t (that is, if a large audience doesn’t ultimately buy into a pitched celebrity/product connection), the social media backlash is likely to be severe and financially painful.

It wasn’t always like that. Prior to the Internet, a misplaced tie-in between a public figure and a consumable might take months to truly manifest itself in an economically damaging way.

That is clearly no longer the case. The above article stresses that celebrities, their agents and company marketing executives all need to be extremely careful these days, because “people are watching what [endorsers] are doing.”

So, if you don’t drink bottled mineral water, you shouldn’t be advertising it. If company managers intend for you to sell products through a warm and fuzzy image, vetting you in advance for adverse personal history – like sexual harassment or drug abuse – is an imperative.

It is important from the perspective of both a fully realized celebrity and a so-called “rising influencer” that their public audience sees them as credible and believably connected to the product they are being associated with.

If that is not the case, note a panel of marketing experts at a recent advertising forum, every party principally tied to an endorsement effort will suffer.

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