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Are commonplace celebrity endorsements now a thing of the past?

It’s one thing when an A-list celebrity takes money from a company to shill for its products or services.

It’s quite another when that high-profile figure pays the maker – not vice versa – for the privilege.

A recent article on celebrities’ investments in companies that impress them basically turns the time-honored notion of celebrity-for-hire contracts on its head. It argues that “endorsements are the past” and that recognizable figures with marketing chops more frequently prefer these days to simply buy into a brand they find personally appealing.

Think Oprah Winfrey and her close connection with Weight Watchers. Winfrey has reportedly parlayed a 2015 infusion of $43 million in that company into an investment now worth more than $400 million. Ditto Kobe Bryant, who was so impressed by the in-lieu-of-Gatorade sports drink manufacturer BodyArmor that he plopped $6 million into the company a few years back.

His four-year return on that investment? Bryant’s estimated BodyArmor portfolio is now pegged at about $200 million.

Brand endorsers who operate in the traditional fashion – pay me and I’ll drink that Coke – will of course continue to flourish in their connections with a number of products. The bottom line espoused by the above-cited Food Dive article stresses, though, a growing celebrity propensity to put personal funds into a product or service that personally resonates.

In some cases, too, investors will engage in endorsement activities, as well. Both Winfrey and Bryant have done so, knowing that it simultaneously spikes their investments and keeps their name and image alive in the general public.

Celebrity investment can spell a major win for both an investor (who might turn out to be an endorser, too) and a company. A proven law firm that routinely represents diverse clients in the entertainment industry can provide further information.

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