What a True Celebrity Endorsement Looks Like

richard-sherman-celebrity-endorsementBack in the beginning of May, football player Richard Sherman walked on stage to sign his extension with the Seattle Seahawks. In his hand was a bottle of the sports drink BODYARMOR, which was unusual since he had no endorsement ties with the company at the time. Fast forward to this week, and the cornerback has just landed an official celebrity endorsement deal with the world’s newest favorite sports drink. However, BODYARMOR didn’t have to pull any strings to land such a valuable partnership, as Sherman was promoting the product before signing any contracts. This sort of genuine enthusiasm and alignment with a product can play a major role in convincing people to buy a celebrity-endorsed product, especially those who are on the fence. It is one thing to have a spokesperson that appears in a few ad campaigns, smiling and holding the product they support but not really using it. It is another to have representatives that are not just in it for the check, but because they enthusiastically use the product themselves.

BODYARMOR steps into a large market of sports drinks for athletes. It boasts itself to be a premium sports drink that is healthier than the alternative; it contains coconut water, electrolytes, vitamins, and natural flavors all while being low in sodium. The BODYARMOR endorsement deal also goes deeper than face value; as part of the deal, the brand ambassadors are also rewarded with a financial stake in the company in addition to appearing in social, digital, and print advertisement campaigns.

While industry leader Gatorade’s roster of sports stars includes the likes of Cam Newton, Hope Solo, Serena Williams and Dwayne Wade, BODYARMOR has a repertoire of athletes that is just as impressive. The fast growing company has attracted the likes of Kobe Bryant, Mike Trout, Kevin Love and LeSean McCoy as its major professional athlete spokespeople. Like Sherman, most of them are true drinkers of BODYARMOR. Even Colts star Andrew Luck supposedly asked his agent to get him the endorsement with the sports drink instead of the other way around. BODYARMOR has got to be doing something right if it has athletes scrambling to partner with them.

Headaches ensue when a big name celebrity gets an endorsement deal with a product they do not actually use, or when the affiliation just doesn’t make sense. Not only is a hefty price tag to sign a big name to your company, but if the athlete and product don’t match, the endorsement can turn out to have a terrible ROI. However, sometimes even the most unlikely of pairings can prove to be a huge success if the talent actually uses the product. For instance, think back to 50 Cent’s deal with VitaminWater; not many people would think to have a rapper promote the drink. 50 Cent’s campaign was a huge success because like Sherman, the health conscious 50 Cent was spotted drinking VitaminWater before signing with parent company Glacéau, and claimed it was part of his lifestyle. Not only did he reach a new market, but the two forged a bond that included a financial stake in the company and fueled the music artist to make the brand successful for both parties own good. 50 Cent and VitaminWater made a grand partnership, and BODYARMOR is doing the same. As you can see, having someone who actually believes in the product is more important than just a popular face.

The bottom line is the spokesperson and the company has to be perfectly matched for a successful endorsement deal. BODYARMOR is leading by example by making itself into a brand and product that athletes are literally knocking at the door to be a part of. Simply using a well-known person in a bunch of advertisements when they really use a rival product can sometimes lead to embarrassment for your brand and do more harm than good. In the end, it is just not worth it. Don’t make the mistake of promoting the celebrity more than your brand. Let us do the work for you and find the celebrity that works best for your brand’s goals and campaign so that it becomes a mutually beneficial endorsement.