Believe it because I say so….
Oh, how many times have I expected my kids to buy into this!
I – their mother – tell them something they may not be so sure about (better to date boys who like their mothers, sleeping with your iPhone is not a good idea, nothing good happens after midnight, etc.) and because I say so, they (usually) take me at my word. But why? Well, hopefully I have earned their respect and credibility.
And that is the key – RESPECT AND CREDIBILITY go a long way when delivering a message and a long way when getting someone to do something you want them to do. The same holds true when the message is that of an advertiser.
Depending on whom the “I” is, believe it because I say so can be powerful.
When the “I” is a spokesperson who is trustworthy and credible, their endorsement of a product/service/establishment can add power and credibility to an advertiser’s message. We all relate to those we feel we can trust and identify with.
There are countless advertisers who have chosen endorsers to help sell their product. Spokespeople are abundant in product advertising. Sport figures/Olympians for athletic apparel; Soap Opera stars who play doctors (while admitting they are not really an MD) selling aspirin; HGTV celebrities selling cook wear.
Many times these spokespeople are well selected and at the end of their message you are left thinking, “well if they say so, it must be a good choice.”
If LeBron says”NIKE is cool,” then it must be cool.
If Alex Trebek tells you Colonial Penn is a good choice for insurance, then surely it must be.
Yet oftentimes we see a spokesperson that actually detracts from a message.
Fabio for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” (some years back) didn’t work for me … is either one real? Just because a spokesperson is a celebrity (locally or on a wider scope), it doesn’t mean they are the right fit.
When evaluating a potential spokesperson, ask these questions:
- Are they credible to endorse my product? Why would someone believe them? Do they have experience with what you are selling? Would they be a likely customer? Are they willing to use your product/ service so their endorsement is legitimate?
- Are they relatable? Will the audience I want to reach be able to identify with them? An MLB baseball player may be popular, but not a good choice to promote a carpet cleaning company.
- Is the agreement with the spokesperson flexible? Will they do other things for my business like make appearances, allow their image to be used online, for signage, or in another ways that could benefit my store or product?
- Is the celebrity over-endorsing? Even if you have category exclusivity, if your spokesperson is also touting the virtues of every other retailer in town then your customers will have a hard time finding their endorsement to be sincere.
- Is this person morally and ethically sound? Choosing a person who has a history of legal or moral issues can prove to be disastrous. Does the spokesperson know how to control the things they say and do? We all know of spokespeople who have been pulled from campaigns due to poor judgment calls. One of the best examples of a national endorsement gone bad is OJ Simpson for Hertz Rental Car. When uncontested allegations of domestic abuse were reported in 1992, Hertz dumped Simpson. Two years later, the former spokesman was arrested for the murders of Brown and Goldman.Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps came under fire after a picture surfaced in 2009, in which the swimmer was smoking pot at a party at the University of Southern Carolina. Two deals with AT&T and Rosetta Stone ended as a result.
Remember– once you choose a spokesperson, they are a representation of the reputation you have worked hard to build.
I have been working on advertising campaigns for nearly 30 years, and in this time I have seen our clients benefit greatly from well-selected endorsers. Rosenberg Advertising’s client base has typically been local advertisers, so our spokespeople have been local as well.
Here are two examples of current endorsers who are doing a great job for our clients:
Rick Manning for Bryant Heating and Cooling. Rick is a former Cleveland Indians player and current color commentator for the Cleveland Indians. Rick is very RELATABLE to men, who are the primary HVAC decision maker. His sport success has earned the respect of these men.
Rosenberg has worked successfully with Rick since 1996 to endorse our HVAC client. He has a great presence at dealer meetings and is able to excite and motivate local dealers.
Wilma Smith for Discount Drug Mart. Wilma is a former major network news anchor in the Cleveland market for 36 years.
If Discount Drug Mart tells you it has unsurpassed pharmacy programs (which it does), or that it saves pharmacy customers money on their prescriptions with their $1.99 plan (which it can), the message may get mixed in with the clatter of all the other drug stores’ advertising messages.
BUT… when Wilma Smith says that she and her husband Tom shop and save at Drug Mart, all of a sudden you’ve got someone’s attention.
Why? Wilma fits the criteria: She is a familiar face whom Clevelanders have welcomed into their living rooms for 36 years. They have trusted her to tell them the truth as she delivered the news each evening. She is CREDIBLE.
Her age fits the demographic to which the various pharmacy programs that she endorsed were targeted. In other words, Drug Mart’s customer can identify with her. She is warm and personable – and trustworthy!
Adding Wilma to a Drug Mart campaign takes the message up a notch!