It is not the first time that we have seen celebrity influencers preach water and drink wine, especially when it comes to the smartphone world. For some reason, marketers are convinced that spending millions on celebrities to endorse a certain phone is a good idea.
I get it, sometimes having a big personality associated with your brand does something to your ego, however, things don’t always go as planned, especially when it comes to celebrity influencers and as Ed Hardy of Cult of Mac said, “you can pay a celebrity to say something, but you can’t make them mean it.”
From a marketing perspective, it’s not just about the ego, it’s more about the belief that this particular celebrity will bring in sales, coming from their fans who want to be like them. Does it work? Maybe it would if these celebrity influencers actually like the products they are pushing.
A number of celebrities have been caught campaigning for one brand of smartphone while using the competitor’s brand, most times, an iPhone. From the likes of Gal Gadot, Oprah and many more:
Case 1: Gal Gadot, famous for her role as Wonder Woman, has been Huawei’s brand ambassador for a while now but despite her having access and possession of high-end Huawei flagships that we drool over, she still decided to stick to her iPhone and even promote Huawei through tweets sent from her iPhone, only one problem with that:
Gal Gadot with the Huawei ad… tweeted from an iPhone. Niceeeee pic.twitter.com/aEKJVwoyBL
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 24, 2018
Case 2: Sneha. You might not know of this Indian actress but she’s a big deal in her home country and was recently appointed as Vobizen Mobile – another small budget smartphone brand in India. Her case is even worse than Gal Gadot, because, she didn’t tweet about Vobizen from her iPhone, she went on stage, during the announcement of her brand ambassadorship holding her iPhone on the left and boldly displaying a Vobizen smartphone on the right. No one reminded her to leave her iPhone behind during the photo session?
You could've at least asked her to keep her iPhone aside during the stage appearance and the photo-op. pic.twitter.com/YO4OePSSl8
— Abhishek Baxi (@baxiabhishek) September 14, 2018
These two are just examples of the many times celebrities have screwed up their endorsements, whether they realize it or not. However, it seems that brands have started waking up and doing something about the betrayal. Just the other day, Samsung’s brand ambassador and influencer in Russia got sued for $1.6 Million after she was spotted using her iPhone X in public, more than once.
Moving Beyond Celebrities
Don’t marketers wonder why Apple does not indulge in this celebrity endorsement shenanigans? Yes, they do other forms of marketing, like product placements but not a celebrity tweeting about how great his or her iPhone is.
Marketers have to evolve, move beyond using celebrities to push a brand to other forms of marketing that work and are much cheaper. The first step is to acknowledge the market you serve. This especially applies to budget smartphones. It does not make sense, to have a celebrity influencer telling fans how great their sub-30k phone is or even worse, a sub-15k phone.
“you can pay a celebrity to say something, but you can’t make them mean it”
Fans already know that a certain celebrity is of a particular league and as much as we may admire these celebrities, we’re not stupid enough to believe that they would spend quality time with a budget smartphone, beyond the few photos they pose for with the device. We know that they prefer iPhones and Samsung flagships, the majority of us do, but the way our bank accounts are set up…
Smartphone brands would save a lot more if they cut the cost of celebrity endorsements and focus on better ways to create brand awareness and increase sales. Or, if you must use a celebrity, at least use one that actually likes your devices.
Dear marketer, these celebrities you so much love, are not your friends.