Celebrity endorsed advertising loses focus

I’ll be honest I don’t really like celebrity endorsement in advertising.

I make an honourable exception for Kevin Bacon in what I think are genius level adverts for EE explaining 4G in the most unlikely manner. It has actually made me reappraise him as an actor believe it or not, he seems to be such a good guy in the ads … the power of advertising, who’d have thought!

I spotted this ad though for Westland Garden Health in my Guardian the other day. The connection is obvious, gardening and Charlie Dimmock, latterly from BBC TVs Ground Force..

Clearly Alan Titchmarsh is likely to be more expensive and Tommy Walsh is more DiY and Charlie had a certain following in her pomp, so I get the connection and see the rationale for using her!


But the art direction is appalling … why pay for a celebrity and then leave her so blurred (it is not my photo, honest), that you struggle to make out who it is.  It’s a very extreme form of airbrushing / photoshopping I must say.

The web site is even worse – they must have chosen the worst photo of her they had, and at this point I REALLY don’t want to know what her secret is … sorry Charlie.

CD web grab

I’m not sure the expense of the celebrity endorsement has worked here at all, but in my next example I think the connection is even more tenuous.

Which brings me on to Wiltshire Farm Foods and Ronnie Corbett – see what you think …

This is a sort of upmarket meals on wheels service and I am sure is lovely food, despite it looking rather varnished in the ad, but why Ronnie Corbett?  Really?  Do people think Ronnie will use a service like this? I can only assume it is an empathy play, but he is simply a link man here , much underused, I like Ronnie, so this makes me sad. I hope he was well remunerated.

Next in line is Jackpot Joy Bingo … and that ‘Great British Institution” Barbara Windsor as the Queen of Bingo.


What this ad is trying to show is beyond me.  The ringmaster is a visual identikit of Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York and “Babs”, if I may be so bold, is trying to be Elizabeth I.

Strange and stranger.

Bring back Foxy Bingo that’s what I say, I mean, even woodland creatures seem to make sense as Bingo ambassadors in the context of this ‘mish mash’. [Did I really just type that?!].

Where next then?  Well it has to be ‘Gorgeous George’ advertising coffee I think.

Ok, he is cool, even in this ad, and it does give a lifestyle comment that makes a degree of sense, and the gentle humour about his appearance has a degree of charm. Worth the fee though? Who knows? Does he use a machine like this?  Really?

This has depressed me (and probably you by now, sorry) so I went on the hunt for some Celebrity Advertising that actually works, I struggled, but landed two ads I hope you will enjoy revisiting, both are a little dated, but the production and quality make them timeless.  Both for the same brand too…

The style is montage … my two favourites?

…both Apple…

The original Superbowl ad for the iPhone launch and my favourite inspiring ad .. The Crazy Ones from way back in 1997 would you believe.

Relax, sit back and enjoy them…


Please leave me a comment or two if you get a moment, thanks as ever for reading!


20 May 2014

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One thought on “Celebrity endorsed advertising loses focus

  1. […] does risk look like in DRTV? Well celebrity endorsement is definitely not an area where Sun Life have started living on the edge. To be honest if Johnny […]

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