‘Branding celebrity with integrity’ is my chosen presentation topic for next year's FUSE conference. And whilst I don’t want to discuss all the finer points here, I did want to get the discussion going...And, let’s face it, it’s certainly topical at the moment now that the Tiger has lost his roar after his indiscretion was exposed. Love them or hate them, they are everywhere – celebrities, that is. But, there is a very real difference between choosing a celebrity to endorse your brand and branding a celebrity. And, put very simply, it comes down to buying into a face or a soul.
What does P Diddy really know about fragrance? - other than wanting to look and smell good as part of his successful R&B image, that is? But, as we speak, he is hawking his 'I Am King' fragrance across the media networks and, of course, this fragrance – as those before – is likely to be a huge (if probably) transient hit...Jamie Oliver also diversified from being the world famous chef extraordinaire to being the face of the Sainsbury’s TV Ad campaign and many questioned why he was doing this. But, Jamie was actually staying true to himself and the core truth of his brand which is his expertise in – and love of – food by linking with one of the UK’s oldest and leading supermarkets.
With the creation of homeware brand Jme, Jamie did indeed step away from the core offer of his brand but he did also retain his values and identity. It comes down to being real and authentic - creating a celebrity brand with true meaning - and not trying to be something you’re not or just bolting-on desirability in the form of the latest celebrity face. Of course, as we have seen with Mr Woods, humans are fallible. But, this is less likely to be a problem if you are creating a living breathing brand that is the embodiment of a living breathing person and not dictating a one-dimensional fixed aesthetic....And, there’s the crux – it is indeed about identity and how things look. But, it’s about ensuring long-term success of a celebrity brand through an intelligent design strategy that mirrors everything the brand does, says and delivers at its very heart and soul.
Jonathan Ford, Creative Partner Pearlfisher, will be presenting at the IIR’s annual FUSE event – FUSE: Reclaim The Future - on 15 April 2010, Chicago http://www.iirusa.com/fuse/home.xml
To find out more about Jamie Oliver and Jme, check out http://www.jamieoliver.com/