Celebrity Endorsements Are Never Forever!
Whether it was The Yankee Clipper Joe Dimaggio for Mr. Coffee, Sally Fields for Boniva or Jennifer Hudson for Weight Watchers, all celebrity endorsements are made to end, eventually. Weight Watchers signed Jennifer Hudson, whose career began on American Idol and quickly became a Grammy winning superstar with fans from coast to coast, after giving birth to her first child in 2010. As the singer only continues to be successful, the news that Weight Watchers is not renewing their endorsement contract is just one more example that no endorsement deal is forever. When you analyze the initial relationship, the Jennifer Hudson endorsement made a lot of sense. It was an emerging pop star with a lot of buzz, someone that appealed to both young and old women and clearly broadened the demographic Weight Watchers was generating revenue from to include African Americans and Hispanics.
By hiring Jennifer Hudson as their celebrity spokesperson, Weight Watchers differentiated themselves from many of the other products and systems in the market-place. This differentiation clearly worked because Weight Watchers extended their original endorsement deal with Jennifer Hudson, utilized her on their national television ad campaign, on-line and off line vignettes, print ads, in-store point of purchase, etc. As of late, Ms. Hudson has been slowly phased out to make room for the shoe manufacturing maven and singer, Jessica Simpson. Ms. Simpson was hired as Weight Watcher’s celebrity spokesperson after she gave birth to her child. Utilized in a similar manner as Ms. Hudson, it would outwardly seem that Ms. Simpson is resonating with the core consumer of Weight Watchers, is very relevant and generates a substantial amount of free PR through her placement in such fan favorites as People and US magazine, E! Entertainment and many other on-line Hollywood bloggers. The star of such movies as Dukes of Hazzard, Ms. Simpson has a much broader appeal in the general lexicon of celebrity.
The one absolute when it comes to corporations, brands or service providers that hire celebrities to be their corporate ambassadors and spokespeople is that no one has this role forever and even the best fits eventually grow stale. Re-working a program once a celebrity spokesperson has been with you for several years is always a good idea! Look, even the ever present voices of Samuel L Jackson for Capital One, Dennis Haysbert for Allstate or Morgan Freeman for VISA have iconic commercial roles for these monster companies, yet someday, they, like the dinosaurs will be a mere memory!