. The Transom .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Celebrity endorsement should match reality

Dorin Levin wrote an article on Sunday about how Tiger Woods should be the pitchman for Cadillac instead of Buick. It was argued that, of the two GM brands, Cadillac has the best shot at actually attracting younger buyers with its new, sleek designs of the CTS and STS models. One point that Dorin mentioned, but that I felt needed more attention, was the use of celebrity spokespeople in unrealistic scenarios.

Case in point, raise your hand if you actually believe Tiger spends more time in a Buick than he is contractually obligated - in TV commercials and driving to and from tournament sites. Does he have a stable full of Lucerne's or Rainier's? Not exactly. He is usually spotted driving his Ferrari Testarossa or his BMW 7-series.

I'm not going to argue whether celebrity spokespeople actually drive sales, but in my opinion the use of a celebrity should at least create the belief that he or she uses the product of service. An example: Michael Jordan pushes Hanes underwear. No reason that doesn't hold some shred of believability. George Clooney does voiceovers for Budweiser. Tiger pitches Nike. Catherine Zeta-Jones pushes T-Mobile. These are all believable. Tiger rolling up to his $100 million estate in a $27,000 Buick? It just doesn't quite make it.

As a final point, consider Tiger's other endorsement deals and you tell me which one does fit: Nike, Tag Heuer (switched from Rolex), Accenture, American Express, Buick. Hmmm....


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