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Gary Lineker

A celeb agent’s guide to using talent with your brand

Get it right, and a celebrity can do all kinds of good for your brand. Get it wrong though, and, well, Cadbury Snowflake anyone? eric’s head of talent Meryl Hoffman talks us through the dos and don’ts of working with talent…

Bring them to your home, ​don’t go to theirs

Very few brands are going to fit with every single one of a celebs’ social following, but if you bring them to your platforms – as Calvin Klein did with Justin Bieber – then you’ll not only deliver to your own fans, but will also entice their most relevant followers.

Sometimes, you can plan your ‘luck’

Ellen Degeneres’s ‘world’s greatest selfie’ at the Oscars was celebrity endorsement gold for Samsung. They had planned for the selfie to be Degeneres and Meryl Streep, but it ended up with half of Hollywood in shot. With three million retweets in two days, it did wonders for Samsung. And they made the most of it by then making a $3m donation to charity. Win, win.

world’s greatest selfie

A genuine bond works golden wonders (or Walkers)

Gary Lineker works well with Walkers because of the Leicester bond. He’s a proper local hero, a die-hard fan and ex-star of the footie team and his uncle used to deliver potatoes to the factory. Coupled with the endless opportunities with ‘good guy goes bad for the love of crisps’ and we have another winner.

Show a different side to them

The world is forever wanting to discover something new about their favourite celebs. So introducing an, albeit often scripted, alternative side to a celeb feeds that hunger and provides the audience with social fuel for weeks. ‘Is Kevin Bacon really that funny?’ ‘Look at how Van Damme can laugh at himself! Ha!’ ‘And as for that Alec Baldwin – what a joker!’

The holy grail is the unisex icon

If you’re a catch-all, global brand, finding the right name to appease your audience is tricky. Who do men want to be and women to be with? Or vice versa. The list is short: George Clooney, Steve McQueen (obvs tricky to get new material from him), Julia Roberts (perhaps), Cameron Diaz… It’s not easy, but find the right one though and – content gold.

Steve McQueen

Own the format, not the celeb

For ongoing relationships with your audience, the worst thing you can do is make the campaign all about the celeb. What happens when it finishes? The audience leaves with them. Decide upon a content format that works for your audience and you, and have interchangeable icons. Celebs go in and out of fashion, your format can last.

Be clear on the rules of (social) engagement

Ensure you have agreement on celebrity social retweets, likes, posts etc. Don’t presume they’ll do it because you’ve paid them to feature in your content. Otherwise you end up with a Kevin Hart situation, who allegedly refused to promote his own movie in his own social channels without payment. Even just to avoid awkwardness, get everything down on paper.

Peter Andre

Know your faults

How do people mock your brand? Even if you don’t admit it to your boss, you know what they say. Odds are the talent will know it too, so be mindful that they don’t repeat those foibles out loud say, for instance, on a TV panel show. Peter Andre, we’re talking to you…

Brief, brief, brief…

A day doesn’t go by without a footballer’s social post beginning with ‘Post something like this…’ See earlier rule, and don’t presume anything. Ensure they know your brand name (Little Mix, d’ya hear?) and that they don’t post orders from their management as part of your ‘chatty’ brand plug.

Some match-ups are just bad

Anthea Turner. Grant Bovey. Cadbury’s Snowflake grabbed headlines by appearing in the couple’s wedding photos. The Sun described it as ‘the most sickening wedding photo ever’. So embarrassed was the bar, it changed its name to Flake Snow to avoid being recognised. Probably.

To find out more about using celebrities with your brand or creating talent-driven content campaigns, email our head of talent Meryl Hoffman.