Celebrity Endorsement; What Is It Really About?

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It seems like all we hear these days is how one of our celebrities have clinched so, so and so endorsement deal *ZZZzzzz*. It’s like they use up all their energy trying to get an endorsement deal rather than do the actual work that makes them a ‘celebrity’ in the first place.

Before I drive on and take a wrong turn, that eventually leads me to the state of mind of our Nigerian celebrities *side eye*, let me start with the ignition; what is an endorsement deal and why bother?.

Celebrity endorsement is used by a brand to sell its products and/or make its products more endearing to customers by using a celebrity that can create attention and captivate consumers. It is basically using an influential personality to leverage off the person’s brand in order to eventually gain valuable economic advantage.

Before jumping into an endorsement deal, Both parties have to understand and consider some MAJOR points in order to have a smooth sailing.

  • What is your objective/goal as a brand? This applies strongly to both parties. When creating a PR campaign for a brand, it is always necessary to have an objective and more importantly a TARGET MARKET/AUDIENCE!. Now as the brand looking to engage a celebrity for an endorsement deal, ask yourself this; Is this said celebrity influential enough to achieve my objective or is the celebrity’s target audience what i need for promotion and sale of my product? Because for instance, how is Tiwa Savage the ‘right’ celebrity to use to influence customers to buy Forte oil products..I mean, is she an avid car lover? Does she know ANYTHING about cars? Has she ever given us a reason to believe she knows about cars or the products to use for them?…Endorsement gone wrong! A fair example, is Burnaboy and Globacom although Glo needs

to share its objectives with us so we can understand WTH is going on and be less critical of its new ambassadors springing up every hour*sigh*. Burnaboy is probably the most strategic Glo endorsement yet, because he is quite popular with the young IJGBs (i just got back) and secondary school students who quite frankly are the only ones naive enough to get glo sims in need of sim cards and so seeing a Burna ad with Glo or his tweets, might just ask daddy for money to get a Glo sim, or follow Glo on social media or go for Glo events. Like i said, fair example not quite good enough.


  • Compatibility; As a celebrity, before you get blinded by the dollar signs and start humming ‘BBHMM’ to the company endorsing you, ask yourself this; is your brand compatible with that of the brand you seek to endorse or does the product you are endorsing align with your brand? The same goes for the brand seeking to use the celebrity. This is very important because at the end of the day, the brand alignment is what causes the endorsement to be a huge success or a flop. Like, no offence to the Kim K stans, but you really can’t see Kim being an ambassador for a family oriented product like cereal or a kitchenware product where the target market is kids/family right? *i can already imagine the outrage*. Her brand just doesn’t align with such.


  • Suitability; This is more for the celebrity being endorsed and though a bit similar to compatibility, this is limited more to the product being endorsed. A celebrity endorsing a product has to be sure the product is suitable for his/her use and this happens especially with athletes. For instance, Brazilian captain and FC Barcelona football player Neymar Jr who is the face of Nike Hypervenom boots had to be given mock boots to use for training for a couple of weeks to the UCL final to make sure it was okay before the final design and production. Same thing goes for Serena Williams with her racket, shoes, Lebron james with his shoes, Tiger woods with his golf club and so on. In fact it is a normal practice to ensure that you can endorse the product confidently. You don’t want to endorse a product you don’t use or don’t like!. *side eye to Blackberry creative director Alicia keys for tweeting via twitter for IPHONE* Lmao..it ended up being a big issue for both hers and Blackberry’s brand  and a total flop.


There are a couple of other important points to consider like exclusivity and its extent on the particular endorsement, research and survey on consumer behaviour especially relating to particular celebrities and more.

All in all, endorsements are a big deal and they have to be done right in order to achieve anything concrete from such alignment, if not it is just a waste of time and money!. Can you all think of Nigerian celebrity endorsements that have been highly successful? and no, not in terms of how much the celebrity was paid. Please drop your comments below and it might just help in compiling a list of successful Nigerian endorsement deals to learn from. ✌



An I.P and Entertainment Lawyer by day, a publicist by night and a writer 24/7! Most importantly, a passionate and hopeless hip hop romantic :)

1 comment

  1. The issue I have not seen Nigeria P.R company exploit is talented fact image rights are not created nor protected under Nigerian law nor Tort, the same as in Britain but yet we have a U.S mentality about how to treat celebrity images and endorsement. Only the Tort of ” passing off” that can be a legal remedy. They should really push the way they use the brands with this knowledge and save on how they much they spend on celebrity endorsement.

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