31st Aug 2006, by Andrew Barr

Ann Summers Jacqueline Gold Talks About Celebrity Gossip Fashion Potential

Howdy Blog Readers,

Usually when I read SME aimed business magazines, although I like them, I find they are packed with far too much advertorial and not enough thought provoking editorial. The August edition of New Business magazine did have one particular article that got me thinking plenty.

Jacqueline Gold (or maybe one of her public relation people?) of Ann Summers fame has a written a really interesting piece on the future of celebrity product endorsements. As many people know the effectiveness of celebrities endorsing products is on the wane in certain industries, with some celebs being criticised by consumer groups for encouraging the use of poorly performing products and services. Most recently people like Carol Vorderman and Carol Smilie have come into the media spotlight for their promotion of various financial services products that in all reality may not be in the best interest of the consumers that they are aimed at.

In her article, Jacqueline Gold of Ann Summers suggested that this trend will continue to the extent that she soon expects to see some companies paying celebrities to wear rival products that look bad. The other option could be for rival companies to pay naff celebrities to wear various products.

From a public relations point of view this would be interesting and I cannot help but wonder how this would be managed? I have also been racking my brains trying to think of an instance where this may have happened already.

Certainly magazines like Heat, Closer, Star and the whole army of other gossip/celeb titles that weigh so heavily on our newsagents shelves have large sections devoted to celebrities who have got their fashion sense so disastrously wrong. The question is, are all of these completely by accident of has rival companies paid stylists and celebs to use items that may not reflect well on the brands they are wearing. I am not suggesting that the stylists or celebrities do this knowingly; I would guess that they would consider it as just another job, as long as they got paid.

One area where this has kind of gone full circle and “naff-ness” has been successfully harnessed for commercial gain could be The Hoff. He started as a very credible actor in Knight Rider, some would say he maybe slipped a bit with Baywatch and when that ended he kind of became a figure of jest in the UK and USA, where people mocked the fact he became such a big music star in places like Japan and Germany. No really, he literally is, big in Japan.

The Hoff then became some form of global internet icon where his mullet was mocked but his catch phrases such as “Don’t hassle the Hoff” were celebrated. This has now gone full circle with him now appearing in ads for the internet company PIPEX where his cult internet status is celebrated and he is the talk of pubs and bars across the UK, making him popular again in mainstream society.

But back to the topic, and away from my obsession with the Hoff… I have tried to think of some examples where celebrities have worn a brand that was maybe paid for by a rival brand.

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