The Secret Marketer on celebrity slip ups

We are about to put pen to paper on a celebrity endorsement deal. The draft contract paperwork has been toing and froing between agency, lawyers and representatives and there is now a detailed mark-up awaiting final comments sitting in my in-tray. I am under pressure to sign but the press headlines of recent weeks have called for a little more deliberation.

England captain John Terry is back in the news for all the wrong reasons with allegations of racism on the pitch; the issue compounded by quite scandalous comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter on race relations. Meanwhile, in the land of spicy sauces, or the ’take-home wet ingredients in a glass jar market’ as it is no doubt technically classified by industry analysts, Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Levi Roots is in hot water as he faces a court trial to determine the real roots of his success. It is being claimed that Levi has cooked up more than just his sauce because the secret recipe for his Reggae Reggae sauce was not in fact inherited from his grandmother but from a former business partner.

Things are no better further down the sauce aisle, where Loyd Grossman’s Korma sauce has been recalled after an outbreak of botulism left two people ill. I guess it was a statistical probability that the sufferers would be Scottish.

Meanwhile, UK retailers are battling each other for Christmas cheer with a mix of price reduction and celebrity helpers. I have enjoyed watching the ever-changing M&S X Factor sponsorship ad. First the sudden departure of bad boy Frankie Cocozza led to an emergency re-edit, then a re-cut to accommodate comeback queen Amelia Lily and now it has to handle the departure of nice lad scouser Craig Colton. I hear it was always the intention to evolve the ad in line with evictions, but I doubt it is getting the tills ringing in stores. Shame Strictly Come Dancing isn’t on ITV because judge Len Goodman in his Christmas pyjamas would surely help them sell more gear.

Meanwhile, it would be remiss to end this without applauding John Lewis and its agency Adam & Eve. Its Christmas commercial is one of those brilliant pieces of advertising that grabs you by the heart. I just love it. And not even a celebrity on the payroll (though seven-year-old Lewis McGowan from Glasgow is surely now destined for global stardom).


Executed a superb sponsorship strategy this year? Then you need to enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2012 category by clicking here.

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