Celebrity Endorsement: Should Your Brand Take Advantage Of It?

Does George Clooney really drink coffee?* Did Serena Williams really like wearing Nike?** To what extent is celebrity endorsement a business arrangement, and can brands really have synergy with celebs?

There are many ways to make celebrity endorsement work for a brand. When implemented carefully and authentically, it can dramatically boost brand awareness and sales.

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Read on to learn more about what makes an excellent celebrity endorsement, the pros and cons, and how to make it happen for your brand if you decide to go that route.

What is celebrity endorsement?

While there are many examples of successful celebrity endorsement campaigns, what does doing it really mean? And is celebrity endorsement right for your brand?

Before we decide whether your brand should go down the celebrity endorsement route, it’s helpful to define what it is.


Celebrity endorsement, also called celebrity branding, refers to a kind of marketing or advertising campaign in which a celebrity promotes a product or service.

The first celebrity endorsements might have been baseball heroes appearing on cards in packs of cigarettes. Nike has a long history of working with celebrities to share their brand messages, including multi-million dollar deals with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

Taylor Swift’s popularity has elevated multiple campaigns, including Coca-Cola, Covergirl, Elizabeth Arden, and even the California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” campaign in 2010.

Selena Gomez, who recently became the most-followed female on Instagram, has partnered with Puma, Pantene, Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Coca-Cola. Gomez’s influence is so strong that the picture she posted promoting Coca-Cola became the most-liked photo on Instagram in 2016.

However, celebrity branding comes with caveats. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of asking celebrities to support your brand publicly.


With social media’s rapid growth and power, celebrity endorsements are more valuable than ever. Businesses, particularly new brands, should seriously consider the advantages of celebrity branding, as it can be a powerful strategy to position a brand and improve its reach.

The main advantages are:

  • Celebrities have significant numbers of followers that they can influence. These followers are potential consumers of the marketed brand.
  • Because celebrities are instantly recognizable, they can use this power to make brands household names. A high-profile celebrity with a large fan base combined with a catchy marketing campaign can achieve this very quickly.
  • Even after the marketing campaign is over, people will still associate the brand with the celebrity in the adverts. This can mean staggering ROI for a memorable marketing campaign that makes an emotional impact on its target audience.


Working with celebrities can be lucrative, but it can also be a high-risk strategy. Various problems can damage the brand. The higher the profile of the celebrity, the more significant the potential damage.

  • While celebrities can attract a lot of people to your brand, they can also attract attention for the wrong reasons. Public scandals, media gaffs, or failures can damage the brands associated with a certain celebrity.
  • When a celebrity is super famous, many marketing firms will want to associate their brands with those famous people. If the celebrity agrees to multiple deals, this can be damaging for each brand. A star that endorses many brands, particularly brands of the same type, can seem to be more interested in making money than supporting a certain product.
  • When a celebrity’s image, lifestyle, beliefs, and/or values do not match the product they endorse, a marketing campaign can fall flat and result in the company losing money. Worse, it can damage the brand. For example, if a famous person constantly drinks alcohol and smokes, who would believe that they genuinely like the healthy stuff they promote?
  • Celebrities are people, and people change. If they change in ways that do not align with the brand’s vision, this can cause friction in an advertising campaign and do lasting harm to revenue, sales, image, and trust.

Interested in celebrity branding? Here’s what you should know

Marketers need to do due diligence before collaborating with celebrities. Whatever the status of the celebrity or influencer, protect yourself by researching more information about them and their team. What if they are hard to deal with? What if they have already had a bad brand promotion experience?


To find out more, search for information online, whether on social media or news websites. If the influencer you want to work with is not really famous, ask around or check them or their team members on Nuwber.

Here are the main factors to consider when negotiating with a celebrity to endorse a product or service:

  • Budget: How much you are willing and able to pay for celebrity branding will determine to a large extent which celebrities you should approach.
  • Audience: Seek celebrities that align with your audience. While celebrity endorsements are about spreading a message to many people, having the right person spread your message to fewer people can be more effective than having the message shared with more people who are less targeted.
  • Brand Image: The image of a celebrity needs to align with the brand image and values. A disconnect between the two can lead to a clunky, inauthentic-looking campaign. Working with the right famous person can also be an excellent way to tell people what your brand is about.
  • Trust: Celebrity image is crucial because any negativity associated with them can reflect on the brand. Therefore, choosing a famous person that people like and trust is vital.


* George Clooney likes coffee so much that he became a shareholder and spokesperson for Nespresso in 2006, making around $40 million over the years.

** Before her retirement in 2022, Serena Williams wore Nike clothing while playing professional tennis for years, including custom shoes and collaborative designs.

As these celebrities demonstrate, celebrity endorsement can work exceptionally well when businesses take the time to consider the following:

  • Their audience;
  • The message they want to convey;
  • The values of the celebrity;
  • The celebrity’s lifestyle and trustworthiness.

One of the most significant benefits of celebrity endorsement is the massive brand recognition that can be achieved. Furthermore, celebrities can help people connect with brands on an emotional level, giving those brands the edge over others in the marketplace.

As long as marketers do due diligence on prospective celebrities and respect the public, celebrity branding can be an effective marketing strategy to boost brand awareness.