3 buzzworthy alternatives to celebrity endorsements

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Most of the time, if you get a celebrity to endorse your stuff, like David Ogilvy says in Ogilvy on Advertising, people will remember the celebrity — not your stuff. Instead of getting someone famous to say they like you, why not do something more remarkable?

Here are three examples of alternatives to the celebrity endorsement:

1. Commission an invention
2. Support your fans
3. Make a memorable moment

1. Commission an invention

Kellogg’s brought on artist and inventor Dominic Wilcox to make a bunch of creative inventions for breakfast time. He made a remote-controlled crane hat that scoops cereal out of the box, a “snap, crackle, and pop” amplifier that makes cereal sounds louder, and some other stuff that looks like it came straight out of Dr. Seuss. That’s a partnership that is more authentic to the artist, more fun for the brand, and more memorable to their audiences.

2. Support your fans

American Family Insurance paid two NFL players to surprise their fans by holding up signs and cheering for them — like millions of people do at their games. They showed up at a dance rehearsal, roller derby practice, and a school gym with signs that say stuff like “Tiana. Mom. Nurse. Student. Hero.” It’s positioned as a way to return their support, which brings on the warm and fuzzies (the kind of stuff people love to share). It’s also about showing your fans that, even when you bring a celebrity into the picture, it’s still about the customer.

3. Make a memorable moment

Heineken disguised an empty arcade machine in a Dublin pub as a rugby-themed prize vending machine. If you win the game, you get an autographed rugby ball. But what the people in the pub didn’t know, was that inside that machine was a real-life rugby legend, Jonah Lomu, signing each ball. As each patron filled out their name on the screen, the rugby player wrote a quick autograph and put the ball in the slot. And after several people in the bar got a personally autographed ball, Heineken revealed the surprise — Jonah Lomu was in there. That’s more fun for the player, for the fans, and for everyone watching the video — plus it comes with a bunch of word of mouth memorabilia for everyone in the bar.

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