November 8, 2013
In recent years in Nigeria, there has been an upsurge in the appointment of popular faces, particularly music and Nollywood stars, as brand ambassadors. Those who don’t have official ambassadors have featured celebrities in their Television Commercials (TVCs) and other communication materials.
Brands like Glo, Guinness, Pepsi, Loya, MTN, Samsung, Etisalat, Vitafoam, Diamond Bank, BOI, Kanekalon Hair Fibre, among others have gone this route.
In choosing an ambassador, brand managers look out for personalities who can promote the brand image, creative positive perception and appropriately communicate and live the brand messages.
Factors like values, strong presence, ethics, appeal and large followership play a critical role in arriving at a choice. The ultimate aim is to appeal to the target audience.
Celebrities like Banky W, D Banj, Stephanie Okereke, Dr. Sid, P Square, Funke Akindele, Tuface, Saka, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Desmond Elliot, Odunlade Adekola, Lagbaja, Inyanya, MI, Lynxx, Bez, Don Jazzy and host of others have secured endorsement deals with various Nigerian brands.
Even in the celebrity circle, brand endorsement has become a status symbol. Tales abound of celebrities who have dispensed with the services of their managers for missing out on juicy endorsements. While many celebrities aren’t considered by brands, there is a tribe of very few who enjoy multiple brand endorsements.
Popular female act, Omawunmi, is signed on by Konga.com, Glo and Mortein. Don Jazzy has deals with Samsung and Loya Milk while Funke Akindele obviously leads in this group with mouth-watering deals with Jobberman, Glo, Vitafoam, Klin, Clichy.com, among others.
One question readily comes to mind: Is there anything untoward in a celebrity being a brand ambassador to diverse brands?
It is a difficult path to tread as there are merits and demerits in the concept.
Multiple brand endorsements obviously come with huge financial reward. To become a celebrity, in most cases, requires hard work, developing your talent, exploiting media opportunities, high networking ability, appealing personality, etc. Every celebrity is interested in getting maximum financial reward for all of the above efforts, which many of them considered as investment.
The concept is also good for them because they need huge funds to sustain their expensive celebrity status which comes with flashy cars, designer clothing, expensive holidays, and houses in choice locations.
On the flip side, the brand value of celebrities with multiple endorsements tends to slide with serial public exposure. Usually because of the financial terms involved, brand managers would normally want to get maximum benefit from the ambassador. As a result, the ambassador appears on the brand’s advertisements; he attends all corporate events; he’s the face of the company’s CSR initiatives; he’s the guest at the brand’s stakeholders forums. All these are complimented with high decibel media coverage that makes the ambassador a permanent feature in the media.
The novelty of a celebrity endorsement gets diluted with over exposure. This over exposure naturally leads to loss in brand value and before long, discerning brand managers look elsewhere for a fresh choice. No brand wants to associate with a ‘tired’ celebrity.
The major challenge to celebrities is how to balance the pull of huge financial rewards and keeping their brand value fresh and appealing.
I conclude with my suggestion: Cut down the number of endorsements and demand higher fee from the few ones signed to.
Muyiwa Akande is an Account Director with Mediacraft Associates, a Public Relations Consultancy firm in Lagos.