|How many of you remember the hair color advertising campaign from a few years ago that asked the question, “Does she, or doesn’t she?”
After that the issue of celebrity endorsements came up, and officials with the Federal Trade Commission said there had to be at least some minimal connection between the personality and the product.
Well, we’re way beyond simple questions about whether celebrities use the products they endorse.
Now, there is a whole industry devoted to helping companies explain away their connections when famous people endorse products, the latest, of course, being Nike re-evaluating its relationship with Oscar Pistorius, a South African sprint runner accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in Pretoria.
In fact, Nike seems to have had a run of bad luck, having also had business connections with American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who recently admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Years ago, before he became famous for all the wrong reasons, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson was the face of Hertz Rent-a-Car.
Needless to say, the company quickly dropped him when allegations of spousal abuse developed. Other sponsors did not, of course, then pick him up.
In 2005, Chanel and Burberry, as well as a host of other companies, dropped supermodel Kate Moss after photographs surfaced of her allegedly using cocaine.
More recently, legendary golfer Tiger Woods lost his contracts with Gatorade, Accenture and AT&T after allegations surfaced that he had numerous extramarital affairs.
Companies pay celebrities millions of dollars to push their products, and then the advertiser has to go into serious damage control mode when the superstar goes into meltdown.
So, the company loses the contract money, sales money and, perhaps most seriously, credibility.
Maybe, companies should pay ordinary people lots of money to push their products.
Come to think about it, I’m available and just waiting for that magic phone call.