Celebrity endorsements are big business, with over 20% of all ads today featuring a famous face. The reason is simple: Stars sell. Consumers pay more attention to stars because they are attracted to the familiar. Using a celebrity to advertise your business adds awareness, credibility and star power to your company. 3 ways a celebrity can be used by your business include: 1) Advertising – Celebrities can pitch your product via print, television, radio, etc. 2) Appearances and events – Celebrities can make personal appearances for your business at events ranging from charity fundraisers to grand openings. 3) Media opportunities – Your spokesperson can speak on your behalf on TV talks shows, or at press conferences, trade shows or other media events. Things to keep in mind when hunting for a celebrity spokesperson include: • Define your objectives Determine what you expect from your partnership with your spokesperson and how to best utilize their talents. Clarify your needs and expectations from the get-go. Get-It-Done: Brooks International and Burns are a couple of many agencies who specialize in booking celebrity and sports talent. These talent brokers can help you assess your needs. •Find the right fit It s important that the spokesperson you hire is a good match for your product or service. The clearer the link between your company s product and your talent, the better the partnership will work. (Think Michael Jordan and Nike!) Get-It-Done: The Hollywood-Madison Group uses a proprietary database called the Fame Index to match businesses with appropriate talent. The Fame Index contains the names of 10,000 stars and uses 250 categories to match talent to businesses and products. • Plan well in advance When deciding on a celebrity spokesperson for your business, start early. Make your plans at least 6 months in advance. The bigger the name, the longer the lead time. Get-It-Done: Celebrity Focus and The Celebrity Source are two talent agencies who can connect your company with talent and help you navigate the celebrity maze. • Consider the costs Talent fees and celebrity endorsements run the gamut from a few hundred dollars for a local DJ appearing at a business to literally millions of dollars for an international movie star. Catherine Zeta-Jones long-term endorsement deal with T-Mobile was reportedly worth 20 Million, but T-Mobile s U.S. sales jumped 25% during the campaign. Get-It-Done: If you re looking for major star power, you can go with Hollywood biggies like William Morris or PMK/HBH Public Relations. On a smaller scale, many local celebrities can be contacted directly or through their management. • Make contact Talent agencies, entertainment marketing firms and even speakers bureaus can put you in touch with potential celebrity spokespersons. Contacting talent can be easier than you might think. Get-It-Done: In addition to some of the agencies listed above, the Screen Actors Guild provides an actor-locator service. Other things to keep in mind when shopping for a celebrity spokesperson include: • Don t be afraid to ask. Maybe that certain superstar is not out of your reach or budget. • Consider B-List stars who may be more available and less expensive. • Local celebrities or athletes may turn out to be your best bet. • Make sure you have an out clause in case your celebrity gets negative press or is involved in a scandal. (Sorry Britney!) Hollywood TV veteran Lou Bortone is an award-winning writer, marketer and television producer who more than 20 years in the television industry, including stints at Fox and E! Entertainment TV in L.A. Today, Lou specializes in helping entrepreneurs create breakthrough TV and video for the Internet. Email Lou at or visit
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