Celebrity Sponsorships

Celebrity Sponsorship Overview

Celebrity Sponsorship is not necessarily considered a new media, but definitely is a form of media that is being used more and more each day. This usage of modern day celebrity sponsorship is beginning to explore new creative boundaries in which it never has before.

Starting in the 1940s, when the television had become the new form of entertainment and media, celebrities were starring in commercials as sponsors for an array of different products. Even before the television, radio commercials in the 1930s and 1940s were huge in taking brand names and using famous role models to get their name recognized out there in the consumerism society. From entertainment icon, Jack Benny, and his famous “Jell-O everybody, this is Jack Benny” radio commercial, to the famous children cartoon character, Yogi Bear, and his commercial campaign of Kellogg Corn Flakes, having a well known, respectable name behind your product to support and promote it can really do the trick.(Sherman)

"As a brand or a product you have about three seconds to grab my attention with you marketing skills, and nothing helps you do that like a celebrity"-David Reeder, GreenLight

Marketing Today
Modern day celebrity sponsorship has gone even further with their sponsorships than ever before. Everyday companies are constantly in search of finding ways to beat out competition and be the brand name that sticks in everyone’s mind. So how do they do this? They take iconic celebrities, athletes, role models and so on, and have them promote and support their product through an array of different media. Three of the most traditional and most popular celebrity sponsorships in media are exposed through commercials, radio spots, and print ads. These traditional forms of media are still commonly used, but with the constant growth in new technology, companies have to expose their celebrity sponsorships through a whole new world of media in order for them to rise above other brands, and stay on-top of their game. Companies are now utilizing every aspect of a celebrity's life to expose their brand name and products to the greater audiences of the world. Celebrities have grown to become walking billboards for huge brand name companies. For example, athletes are sporting their sponsors products both on and off the playing fields, courts, and competitions. They are not only asked by companies to expose their products while actually engaging in their professional activities, but are told to rep their products anytime of the day and everywhere in the world. From going to the store for groceries, to bringing the kids to the park, celebs and their sponsor's products are exposed to the public-eye everywhere.




Using celebrities to get a product name out there has become one of the greatest way to inform the public on a specific product. One advantage of using celebrity sponsorships a celebrity spokesperson for your product attracts attention to the advertisement in a cluttered stream of messages. (Kamins) Using a celebrity attracts a viewer and makes them associate a product with that celebrity, rather than some random actor or actress. It puts meaning behind the product. Another advantage, celebrities are the perfect source to catch the viewer's attention and increase product credibility. This helps sway the consumers and helps influence them to buy the particular product at hand. These advantages make celebrity sponsorship work. The celebrities job is to catch the attention of the viewer through all of the every day clutter, use charisma to sell the product, and leave a lasting positive impression of the product in the mind of the consumer. When all of this is done successfully, the product will be sold and it is a great success for the celebrity as well as the company who has put the success of their product at risk. (Swerdlow) Industry experts say that the draw of big names is stronger than ever due to the extreme amount of online capabilities. Celebs can promote their sponsors to public through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to establish one-to-one relationship with consumers. Bottom line is that there is still no substitute for a famous face. (Stanley)

"Marketers haven't found anything that's able to elevate the presence of their brands like celebrities. If they had,

they would've gone there"- David Reeder, GreenLight


The great thing about celebrity sponsorships is that you don't really have many limitations as a brand. Different types of celebrity sponsoring are being created all of the time. The only limitations that exist is the constant eye on the celebrity being sponsored. Celebrities are constantly being judged from society and this can put a lot of pressure on some one, throwing in the pressure of being sponsored by a company whose name is at risk, puts a lot more pressure on the celeb. With celebrity sponsorships comes great risk. A company is putting their product on the line with hopes for success, but more and more often we have seen these celebs slip up. When this occurs the product and company are it great risk of failure. For example, every one is aware of the Tiger Woods scandal. Tiger Woods is a well known professional golfer and rold model who has been sponsored by many companies. Once a role model like Tiger slips up it is very hard for them to get back on two feet. When the Tiger Woods scandal occurred sponsors of his were very quick to drop him. For example, after the scandal occurred Tiger's sponsors Accenture, AT&T, and Pepsi Co's Gatorade terminated lucrative deals they had made with Tiger. These companies saw that keeping Tigers name in association with their product could hurt them, but scandals like Tiger's don't always shine a bad light on sponsors. Gillette and Tag Heuer have distanced themselves from Tiger but two of Tiger's sponsors have stuck by his side through this crisis, Nike and Electronic Arts. They continue the illustrating appeal of their A-Listers, even the ones with compromised public images. (Stanley) With scandals like this happening all the time it has become more important than ever that companies do very extensive scanning when selecting and committing to a celebrity. After committing to a celeb the company then prepares plans of actions just in case a scandal does break out and the consumers do hear about the scandal. Mat Wilcox, CEO of Wilcox Group,"We used to be able to control the message. Now, it's Facebook, the 24/7 new cycle- and it's the consumer who's in charge. So if you're (a brand that's) going to choose a celebrity, you'll need a crisis management plan in place- and you'll have to come out fast".(Klara) As you can see it is important to be prepared for all situations involving a celebrity sponsors. This limitation is a very important one, that can make or break a products success, so when going about sponsoring a celeb you must be very careful.

Above: Tiger's new Nike commercial addresses his mistakes straight on. This was Nike's attempt to move past everything. Featuring Barbra Lippert, Advertising Critic, Adweek.


The cost for hiring a celebrity to represent a product can be very high. Many small businesses don't even have the resources or the money to get a hold of a celebrity to endorse them, and in most cases it would be way to much of a financial risk for a small business to take such a risk of hiring a celebrity endorser. The money involved in this process changes depending on contract, but it doesn't come cheap. For example, Pepsi paid Shaquille O'Neil $25 million to promote their soda and Nike paid Tiger Woods $40 million to help their youth marketing campaign. You would think that with the amount of money these companies invest, they would only do it because they are positive it would work, but this isn't always the case. This financial risk being taken can make or break a companies brand name.(Swerdlow)

Reach and Frequency

Reach and frequency refers to the coverage a certain product has. When a celebrity is sponsored by a particular product they are pretty much married to it. Not only are they exposing the product during scheduled events, they are utilizing and showing off the product in their every day lives. This is where reach and frequency comes in. The whole point in using a celebrity to promote your product is to impact the greatest audience. Clearly celebrities are seen and make an impression on thousands every day. The reach of this type of media is phenomenal. The frequency depends because the audience that is looking at and following a specific celebrity because of what they do and who they are. This means the product's audience is limited to what ever audience the celebrity chosen attracts. The reach, in this case in numbers, is high but, but is not the prominent coverage of the product that makes an impact. The frequency is high and makes the greatest impact because usually when a celeb is sponsored by a brand, you begin to associate that celeb with the brand because every time you see a picture of them they are utilizing the product in some way shape or form, this helps stick the idea of a certain brand into your mind. For example, Mel B is an endorser for Sugar Factory and she is seen completing her every day tasks while sucking on one of Sugar Factory's Couture Lollipops.


One of the great things about celebrity sponsorships is that there is really no set schedule that has to be followed. These chosen celebs are promoting and endorsing these product 24 hours a day, every day for years at a time. The celebrities are constantly informing the public about the product in which they are endorsing. The only scheduling that takes place when relating to celebrity sponsorships is the special events and appearances the celebs are scheduled to attend. The scheduling of events is usually done by the celebs manager and their close relationship with the company which is sponsoring the celeb. These events are anything from release parties to red carpet events at night clubs. These celebs strut their stuff for the public to see while repping what ever product they are sponsored by. As far as contracting with celebs these days companies are taking great caution when having long term contracts with celebs. "Brands won't want to be so tied to one individual. They're looking for more flexibility" says Greg Luckman, president of Group MESP, "Ten-year deals will be few and far between. And one celebrity as the sole face of a company? Not gonna happen." (Stanley)

Audience Qualities

The audience qualities of this consumer market is a very flexible. The audience of this particular media is so diverse because each celebrity that endorses a product can reach completely different audiences. For example, athletes will be reaching an audience of other athletes and people who like to watch sports. It would be in the company's best interest to pick and choose celebrities who have fans that would most likely need their product in their everyday life. In most cases, the audience is very likely to use a product that one of their favorite athletes or entertainer uses because they can associate the product with something familiar.


Red Bull - Ryan Sheckler (pro. skateboarder)
Icy Hot Cream - Shaquille O’Neil (pro. basketball player)
Clear₂O - Lance Armstrong (pro. road race cyclist)
Home Shopping Network - Serena Williams (pro. tennis player)


Ford Motors - Ken Block (extreme sports athlete)
Adidas - David Beckham (pro. soccer player)
Monster Energy Drink - Rob Dyrdek (pro. skateboarder)
Oakley - Shaun White (USA Olympic Gold Medalist)
Under Armour - Michael Phelps (USA Olympic Gold Medalist)
Sugar Factory - Mel B (former Spice Girl )


1. Sherman, Ted. "History of Celebrity Endorsements." Associated Content: The People's Media.
Associated Content, Inc., 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 5 Apr. 2010.
2.Two-Sided versus One-Sided Celebrity Endorsements: The Impact on Advertising Effectiveness and Credibility
Michael A. Kamins, Meribeth J. Brand, Stuart A. Hoeke and John C. Moe. Journal of Advertising, Vol. 18, No. 2 (1989), pp. 4-10
3.Stanley, T.. (2010, March). DANCING WITH THE STARS. Adweek, 51(10), 11-12. Retrieved April 8, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2004041561).
4.Klara, R.. (2010, March). I'M WITH A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE! Adweek, 51(10), 13. Retrieved April 8, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2004041571).
5.Swerdlow, Robert A., and Marleen R. Swerlow. "Celebrity Endorsers: Spokesperson Selection Criteria and Case Examples of FREDD." Web .http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6167/is_2_7/ai_n29064666/?tag=content;col1