4 minutes with: Sean Pickwell, Director – Waterfront
A celebrity partnership could help your brand to drive fast awareness, engagement and fan love; and not to mention media interest. The right famous face paired with the right brand can sometimes be a match made in heaven, but finding that perfect fit might not be as easy as you think.
We spent 4 minutes with Sean Pickwell, Managing Director of Australia’s number one international celebrity sourcing agency, Waterfront to get some expert advice on celebrity partnerships.
In your opinion, what are some of the most successful brand and celebrity partnerships of the last 12 months, and why?
There are so many… but a few favourites over the last year for me are:
Mila Kunis – Jim Beam – I love it because it’s unexpected and cuts through. She makes me want to start drinking Beam. Likewise, Anna Kendrick’s anti-ads for Newcastle Ale are so clever. Using female celebrities for male-skewed drinks cuts though, but the execution like in these two cases needs to be great.
Some good Aussie celebrity campaigns – Barry Hall/Kleenex – nice connection to the soft side he showed on I’m A Celebrity, Julia Morris and Westinghouse – not an obvious fit, but the execution is great, and she is so loved, and self-deprecating that it makes the brand shine.
While they do cancel themselves out a bit, both Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver’s ongoing campaigns for Coles/Woolies, are strong, clear branding efforts. Both have outstanding brand values that each of the supermarkets desperately wants, and both speak to middle Australia. And to some degree they are both working.
What are the top 3 things a brand should know before starting the search for a celebrity ambassador?
The key things are what you are trying to achieve with the celebrity partnership, what are the brand values you want them to represent, and what do you need them to do. Sounds fairly straightforward but it is amazing how often these basics get skipped.
Understanding your brand is really important, and what you want to say in the market. Celebrities and the message they convey vary so much.
Also, you need to know that you will be dealing with someone (and their team) who has opinions, and will often have input – they aren’t machines. So it can be a hot kitchen…and you need to understand it can be a wild ride. But that’s why we use celebrities – to harness that personality and power for your brand. But it’s not always easy.
What should a brand look for when searching for a celebrity?
Fit is the key – their brand values and yours – making sure they are aligned.
Although often the celebrities brand values may be where you want your brand to end up, rather than where it is now. In many cases, the reason you might look to a particular celebrity is where the celebrity can take your brand.
Ideally you want someone who you can work with, and who wants to work with you. This is not always easy to know upfront, but there are ways to see if you will be compatible.
What are the most important rules of engagement when working with a celebrity?
Be upfront in the negotiating about what you are trying to do, and what you want from them – specifically.
Try and build a strong relationship with them and the team, so when you do maybe need something extra, it won’t be a problem. And they will want to go the extra mile for you.
Don’t skimp on extra things like accommodation, transport, meals, etc. just to save a few bucks. If they feel you are being cheap, it can rub off on their attitude.
Don’t try and sneak things in once the deal is done. One company we know added extra category exclusions into the contract right at the last minute. Got everyone off side.
What are the most common things a brand can forget when working with a celebrity?
It’s not so much what you might forget; it’s more know what to remember. That’s not just being tricky with words, more to make the point that when you do something everyday, you get good at it, and you know what to look for in each situation. It’s really a great argument to use a specialist to help secure your celebrity. We know who to talk to, how much you should be paying, what you need to include and remember, and how to make it as smooth as possible.