With brands seeing around a 20% uplift in product sales when using a celebrity to endorse their products it seems a worthwhile investment. The general public are bombarded with thousands of adverts every day, but studies have shown the most memorable ads are ones where a celebrity is endorsing the product.
With the rise of social media, brands can get their products in front of celebrities through gifting producing a great response at little expense. To start contacting celebrities click here.
Here are the most important things to remember when trying to get a celebrity to promote your brand.
1) Find the right celebrity:
Identify A, B and C list celebrities. As the list goes down the more successful you are likely to be but the less exposure you may get. What do they like? Check their Twitter feeds. What are their problems and how can your brand solve them? When Estee Lauder first started out she gifted celebrities – the company is now worth $5 billion with Kendall Jenner as the face of it.
2) There are three main conditions to selecting celebrities:
Before signing on celebrities to endorse their brands, companies need to ensure that they meet the guidelines, namely the endorser has the right look for the brand, has a positive image in the society, and is perceived as having the necessary knowledge about the product or band. For example it wouldn’t be appropriate to have Tiger Woods endorsing a product to do with marriage!
3) Look at their social media following:
We all know the vale of social media and you can get celebrities praising your products via their social media, for nothing other than the cost of the product, however it’s really important to find celebrities who are aligned with your brand and proposition. In the case of Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton, whose business My1stYears.com specialises in gift hampers for babies, this means those who have recently had children.
They chose to approach Dannii Minogue, to whom they sent a hamper after the birth of her son Ethan, when Daniel and Jonny’s business was itself in extreme infancy. Danny loved the product and endorsed the brandm. “Dannii Minogue was great,” says Daniel. “She loved the gift, talked about it, even uploaded photos.”
After sending a hamper to Beyoncé and Jay Z after the birth of their baby girl, the pair were invited onto The Alan Titchmarsh Show to discuss their products – PR that money just couldn’t buy.
In terms of endorsement, the products impressed Elton John when their hamper, full of personalised goodies, was chosen to be a gift presented to him and partner David Furnish by Heart FM when their son Zachary arrived. The contents included a teddy bear embroidered with ‘Tiny Dancer’ Elton’s subsequent enthusiastic reaction to the hamper was captured on film and has proved especially valuable to the company. However as always make sure you approach the right celebrity on social The worst thing you can do is try to link with celebrities just because they are celebrities, and get a celebrity that is totally in appropriate for your brnad.
Endorsement can also be gained via social media. Many celebrities will tweet about a product or service to their followers – for a price. While this is still likely to cost thousands of pounds, it is more affordable than a traditional advertising campaign. Agencies such as Adly.com specialise in creating Twitter and Facebook campaigns using celebrities.
There are other, cheaper ways though. For example, Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur extraordinaire of Dragons’ Den fame, (pictured above) runs Small Business Sunday (or #SBS) entirely through Twitter. Every week, small businesses are encouraged to tweet him (@TheoPaphitis) describing their business in one tweet (and including the hashtag #SBS) in a set timeframe. Each Sunday, Theo chooses his favourite six and retweets them to his 230,000 followers.
It took Stephen Barton, whose craft business Krasnaya started producing Russian doll kits in 2009, nine months to win the SBS in 2011. “Having Theo’s name associated with the business has helped us enormously,” he explains. Not only did he gain valuable publicity, but the business was also approached to start exporting to the US soon afterwards – something Stephen credits to enhanced credibility, stemming from Theo’s endorsement.
Often celebrities will have more Twitter followers than magazines will have readers. For example Theo Paphitis best known for appearing on Dragons’ Den, runs Small Business Sunday or #SBS through his twitter. Every Sunday small businesses tweet him their brand and he chooses his famous six to retweet to his 468k followers. This may not be getting the product straight into their hands but see the next point.
4) Ask for something small:
For example, directly asking a celebrity to use your product in public is a large and perhaps costly request but you could mention that if they didn’t want to do this they could do something smaller, like tweet about it. It’s like asking your boyfriend to get you Jimmy Choo and knowing that you would settle for Guess. If you can get them to comply with this small request, they may be more likely to follow up a larger request at a later date.
5) Gift celebrities via mail:
For example start-up fashion watch company RumbaTime mass mailed their watches to style conscious celebs making them $1million in sales in their first year. Celebs like Snoop Dogg and Jaime Pressly were snapped in the brightly coloured wrist candy.
6) Make sure your letter or package stands out:
It must look professional, perception is everything – send it on scented luxury paper if need be. Also express delivery makes it look like you really wanted to get your product to them. Be direct and brief in your approach.
If this isn’t possible include a professional photo of yourself as this helps build rapport. It’s a small step that could make a big difference. Including this ‘social proof’ is one way to distinguish your request from similar ones the star might receive.
8) It’s a numbers game!
Whilst you’re waiting for one celebrity to get back to you, contact others. The more celebrities you write to, the better your chance of an outcome. If you have not heard back you can always follow up. Additionally, the more tweets you send the more likely you are to get noticed. Persevere but don’t be annoying.
9) Customise your product for a celebrity:
Celebrities are more likely to wear a product if it is customised for them, it may take longer but you will reap the rewards. For example ClaireaBella gifted bags to Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore and Binky from Made in Chelsea.
10) Approach a celebrity in person:
This can be a tricky one, the last thing you want is to be taken away by security. Be respectful and know your boundaries! Just being photographed with a celebrity can do wonders for your reputation even if it’s not directly related to the product. Find out where celebrities will be appearing, for example club nights, book signings or charity events. It is possible to find out where celebrities may be from The Handbook ‘What’s on’ page – here.
11)Product placement at gifting suites or Product placement at high profile event
These gifting suites are often organised by PR or gifting companies and you have a ‘booth’ at the event or place your products in attendee gift bags. These often require hefty fees (thousands of pounds) to participate and anyone who walks into the gifting suite can pick up a free sample of your product. This means you can often get a photo of a celebrity holding or using your product, but the disadvantage is that you don’t have control over who that celebrity is.
While celebrity gifting can be great for PR, not all products are suited for this. In order for your efforts to pay off, here are the types of products that are a good fit:
- The celebrity can be photographed using or wearing the product (apparel, accessories, handbags, jewelry, etc.)
- The product can be easily identified in a photo
- Children’s items, like toys and clothes
- Baby products, like strollers and carriers
Additionally get your product into goody bags, such as The Glamour Woman of the year awards, and then often if you provide product you get invitations to attend the event, and can get a picture of the celebrity holing your product. You can view all high profile events in our diary
12) Gift your products to celebrity assistants
Sometimes taking the indirect route can work. After all this is who they communicate with every day. It’s the assistant who is likely to write back via email etc. These people are the gate keepers. Some celebrity assistants even end up in personal relationships with their celebrity assistants for example Kristen Stewart and her assistant Alicia Cargile. To start contacting celebrities click here.
My own experience
My very first job in London was working for a top PR brand , we had some incredible beauty products, but were a relatively small company and didn’t have big budgets to spend on celebrity endorsement and gifting. The first thing we tried was sending gifts to 100 different celebrities, and didn’t get a lot of response. We then decided to send them a personalised note with each gift
Or if you would like to see which celebrities are out at showbiz events click here!