In my last post on Donald Trump’s empire being built on licensing his name caused quite a stir and judging by the reaction, people want to know more about both licensing and whether or not it is worth having celebrity endorsements on a brand.
If you want to know more about Trump’s IP rights then email us with your name, email and address and we will send you a hard copy of Virtuoso magazine.
Why bother with product endorsement…
So let’s start with sporting celebrities, which are big business by anyone’s standards. What sorts of rights arise? A good start is with product endorsement. David Beckham rather famously wears H&M clothing. His wife Victoria Beckham of course started her own clothing line and if you know nothing about it you are forgiven for not knowing that whilst David is simply endorsing a brand, Victoria has created her own designs and makes and sells them under her name. David takes the relatively risk free route of putting his name on someone else’s clothing for a fee. Victoria risks her hard earned cash as a designer and manufacturer. The latter being the easier option of course.
In return for this endorsement, David will be expected to be photographed wearing the products and do the celebrity things associated with the brand, so opening clothes stores, talking to fans, social media etc. Whilst his PR and social media accounts may be managed for him, he will almost certainly have to attend brand events in person, speak to people and be photographed of course.
So what is this worth to the brand?
Well, in some instances a very great deal and certain brands sell out of product as a result of an endorsement by a celebrity. Others have very considerable sales on the back of it. Adidas ® and Nike ® spend millions on endorsements but of course millions of children aspire to be World class athletes and wearing the right kit is all important to them.
Many years ago, I acted for a brand of children’s accessories who had several well known actresses in the US put their new offspring into this particular brand’s pushchairs. Sales went bananas and demand way outstripped supply and that contagion spread to the UK. However, the manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand and a PR maelstrom ensued in the trade press as the retailers couldn’t supply the demand. It was very damaging to the brand. The bad publicity about supply lingers on.
Things to consider…
So if you’re considering getting a celebrity to endorse what you’re doing, it is worthwhile thinking through the campaign detail with a fine tooth comb. If you are a brand owner you need to think about your “get out of jail” card for the celebrity who goes off the rails (think poor old Tiger Woods).
If you are a celebrity, you need to look hard at the campaigns, brands, products and events. Backing the wrong one may be lucrative but damage your longer term career or public image. It is a fine line, but one that when done well can work wonders for both parties.