Who Is Your Favourite Past Celebrity Endorser?
6 minute read
- MKTG Canada team members share their memories on celebrity and brand endorsement relationships that have resonated with them over the years.
- Selected partnerships from team members showcase unique ways to highlight brand ambassadors.
- Picks include Tony Hawk, Peyton Manning, Lester Speight and Karlie Kross.
It's Flashback Friday - MKTG members Kyle Goncalves, Geoff Biss, Marlie McLaughlin and Katherine Allen get together and discuss their favorite past sponsorship deals, why it appeals to them and how it has made an impact within the industry.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater shaped the world of skateboarding - it was more than just a video game. This popular series was one of the first and leading platforms, catapulting the sport into mainstream culture. To some, skateboarding was seen as a rebellious activity, but I believe that has shifted due to the work and talent of Tony Hawk as the series brand ambassador. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Activision (video game publisher) leveraged one of the best skaters of all time (Tony Hawk), and created a sense of credibility on a fun platform that allowed room for consumers to truly engage in skateboarding culture. The series and work of Tony allowed the industry to embrace the sport which created a new world for a variety of sponsors to dive into.
Whether you skateboarded or not - you knew the name and importance of Tony Hawk. Tony Hawk as a face for the series was a perfect choice due to his high performance and demeanor. He elevated the sport which opened the door for sponsors to consider skateboarders as marketable athletes - he definitely paved the way.
Before making viewers laugh in commercials for DirectTV, Sprint Mobile, Nationwide Insurance, or through his multiple appearances on Saturday Night Live, Peyton Manning starred in a series of commercials for MasterCard. For nearly two decades, the credit card brand used their long-running “Priceless” campaign featuring the tagline “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard” as a way to demonstrate the brand’s attributes. The spots were often serious in tone, focusing on celebrating life’s special moments. While maintaining the spirit of the “Priceless” campaign, Peyton Manning brought a refreshing and humorous tone to MasterCard’s TV spots. His comedic timing and delivery helped the brand feel less like a corporation, providing a lighter tone and giving the brand personality, without feeling forced. Successful comedic advertising relies heavily on the endorser. In this case, Manning was an ideal choice for the brand. Already considered as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Manning went on to become, in my opinion, one of the NFL's most marketable and charismatic players off-the-field.
I think it's smart for brands to leverage the authentic or unique side of a brand ambassador and show it off confidently. This spot reaffirms a sense of relatability as fans know Peyton for his fun and humorous personality. Using Peyton at this time was a great choice due to his success and high performance within the NFL - but by strategically incorporating his persona made it a smart choice.
Sports fans love when athletes show their personality. One of the best ways for brands and athletes to do so is by way of an alter ego, as it gives athletes the chance to let go, and show a side of them they don't often show to the public. Athletes also get the chance to be inventive and create a fun character, making for great, shareable content for consumers. A great example of an athlete alter ego is Lester Speight as Terry Tate the Office Linebacker, who enforces office policies. The Reebok spot is personable as there are many relatable office instances that occur in real life that are portrayed in the ad, such as the person who leaves the coffee maker empty, instead of brewing another pot. In this case, Terry Tate tackles the perpetrator, telling them “you kill the joe, you make some mo’”. This commercial paved the way for athlete alter egos, and resonated highly with consumers, evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. I love this because it is illustrative of how collaborations with athletes should be – ones where they are obviously having fun and showcasing their personality to their fans Due to the success of the Office Linebacker character, many subsequent commercials followed, and this pattern is seen across many commercials featuring an athlete’s alter ego character, with similar narratives, but varying content. The content is authentic to Lester’s person, as following his NFL career he also went on to become a wrestler and actor – two traits exemplified in this commercial through his acting chops, and tackling his coworkers.
The Terry Tate series is a staple piece of creative - it showcases Lester's personality, provides fans with a side they may have thought they would see and gives him a platform in the form of a real-life character that can extend his reach to consumers during and after his career.
I agree with the idea that it allows him to show his personality which results in making him more relatable with his current fans and followers - this on-going series also allows Terry to attract new ones.
In the ever-changing preferences of the millennial generation, one consistent trend in recent years is athleisure. Sweat pants worn as luxury apparel is the new normal for style icons and trendsetters across Instagram, and elsewhere. A notable partnership that expanded the chic active-wear movement is when adidas welcomed Karlie Kloss to their team of influencers. Although models and influencers have partnered with athletic brands in the past, this partnership was one of the first to start a movement of supermodels joining forces with athletic brands. Karlie Kloss made her supermodel debut on the Victoria’s Secret runway, walking for the lingerie brand until 2014. Since this debut, Kloss made a name for herself by spearheading coding programs for young girls, which adidas touched on in their most recent Creativity spot starring Kloss earlier this year.
This shone a different light for me within the modelling industry - there's a ton of hard work and dedication that goes into it. Similar to how we see athletes from other sport categories train in athletic wear campaigns - the brand allowed model Karlie to show more movement, activity and preparation with the behind the scenes look.
This campaign showed purpose. When we look "creativity" it can be seen in a variety of ways. Karlie was able take a creative approach in which program she wanted to invest in which is ultimately helping young women develop learning skills, specifically with coding programs.
There is a trend within athlesiure brands using popular icons, models or influencers as ambassadors. Aside from great aesthetic, I believe they make smart and strategic choices due to one key thing - reach. They have extremely high social media clout and following which allows brands to easily communicate key messaging.