There are a lot of brands in the market who have ambassadors to which they align their brand to. Think Collingwood and you think Adidas, McDonalds, Westpac and Emirates. When you think Tag Huer watches you think Rodger Federer.
But linking an individual or sporting team to a brand doesn’t come without risks. For example, when the Traffic Accident Commission (TAC) was a major sponsor for the Richmond Football Club, several people at the club were prosecuted for drink driving, which went against the fundamentals of TAC, resulting in a media backlash and the TAC pulling their major sponsorship.
Brand alignments with ambassadors make sense when there is a clear link, e.g. Coles and Curtis Stone (chef and food, it’s a no brainer), The Biggest Loser contestants promoting workout equipment, but when there is no clear link it can be very confusing for the target markets involved. For example, Mark Taylor (former Australian cricketer) and the Fujitsu air conditioners. It wasn’t a misfit; I just could never make the connection between the two.
It’s a particularly risky area for government organisations, children related or family friendly brands and not-for-profit organisations. A misalignment of a brand and ambassador can alienate your core target market and cause major problems for your brand. If the ambassador is in the public eye and does something inappropriate, this can have a very negative impact on a brand as a result. Think Tiger Woods after the scandal with all the various extramarital affairs.
Also audiences are becoming increasingly cyclical and more and more celebrity endorsements are not cutting the mustard. More and more people are turning to peer reviews and online forums to decide on whether or not to purchase a product.
So just a word of caution, while ambassadors can be great for getting into the headlines, choose wisely or your brand can get into the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Posted by Rach