Use Celebrity Endorsers to Engage, not Impress

Celebrity endorsers have been used for decades by advertisers seeking to benefit from the familiarity and likeability of athletes, entertainers, or other famous people. Often, marketers do not fully leverage their association with celebrities. For example, ads in which the endorser is merely pictured or otherwise does not engage the audience with the story behind his or her association with the brand misses an opportunity to connect with the audience. A memorable example I once saw was an ad in a marketing trade magazine several years for a mailing list service that featured NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana. His picture was in the ad, and while he flashed a nice smile it never was clear what his connection was to the product. I never knew Joe Montana was a mailing list expert (but he is a marketing expert if he could get a company to pay him to endorse the product!).

In contrast, I like the approach used by Unilever to integrate celebrity endorsers into its campaign for Dove Men+Care skin care line. The company has enlisted Major League Baseball personalities such as St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi in a video series. The “Journey to Comfort” campaign will feature 90-second videos as well as longer clips featuring the baseball stars (see a Pujols video here). A sweepstakes is part of the campaign, too, with the grand prize being a meeting with Pujols and watching him take batting practice.

Dove’s “Journey to Comfort” campaign is not guaranteed to move the sales needle, but then again no campaign has that capability. What the campaign does guarantee is a glimpse into the lives of three baseball heroes. The endorsers share personal experiences and stories in the videos that will allow fans to see a different side than the baseball accomplishments for which Pujols, Pettitte, and Girardi are known. A video campaign like the one Dove is conducting has the potential to effectively target men through their interest in baseball, getting their attention with the access to three well-known MLB personalities. The campaign sells Dove Men+Care in a subtle manner, connecting the brand to the lives of men via the MLB endorsers. And, it is a stronger customer relationship to the brand that will ultimately positively impact sales.

Marketing Daily - "Dove Links with MLB Figures for Videos, Sweeps"

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