Sunday, February 15, 2015
Celebs representing your brand: good or bad?
Watch this video of Kanye West bashing Nike on stage at The House of Blues. Kanye's "Yeezus" sneakers are expected to be released later this month and it is causing some tension with his past collaboration with adidas' competitor, Nike.
The rise of hip-hop had a surprisingly large affect on the fashion industry. Since the 1980s, rappers and musicians have been chosen to represent brands in their songs and music videos. Whether the company hired them or not, rappers make shout-outs to labels in classics like RUN DMC's "My Adidas", and recent releases like Riff Raff's "Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz". Both videos feature the label all throughout the song, and now, people will associate Riff Raff with Jordans.
This article clearly identifies the positive and negative outcomes of celebrity endorsement. It can be very beneficial to use a celebrity to help a company break into a certain industry. This is what adidas did with RUN DMC and what Nike did with Michael Jordan. Jordan basketball shoes have since come full circle to represent not only the basketball world but the hip-hop world as well. The companies wanted to expand their audiences, and did so in a productive way that is still effective today.
On the other hand, we have seen it work against them in situations such as Nike's with Kanye West. If relationships go south or celebrities represent the brand in a negative way, it can greatly affect sales. While Kanye West is not everyone's favorite Hollywood hothead, he is still constantly in the spotlight and is always wearing the latest trends (even though he may be a little over the top sometimes).
Nike has fallen victim to unlucky endorsements a few times, most importantly with Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. There really isn't a good way to tell if these relationships could go south. Both Woods and Armstrong seemed like smart candidates at the time that they picked up Nike, and they ended up being involved with two major scandals in the sports world.
The important takeaway is too choose a celebrity wisely when looking for endorsements. If those relationships take a turn for the worse, it is the PR team's job to fix that reputation and not lose too many customers. It is always possible to turn a negative into a positive with strategic planning.