Thursday, October 12, 2006

Celebrity a-go-go

Ad agencies are finding it easier to entice high-calibre celebs to do ads.

A report in the New York Times this morning says agencies are finding more, and better, choices among celebrities for their campaigns and they are not just talking about Bob Dylan and his recent turn for Apple to flog his new album Modern Times (which I sort of meant to get, but then thought better of).

They are talking about Oscar-winning actors like Nicole Kidman, Sally Field, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton and Robert de Niro who are no longer talking about going to Italy or Japan, where the likes of Sean Connery and others have gone in the past to shoot foreign ads (highlighted by Bill Murray as the world-weary film star character in Sofia Coppola's film 'Lost in Translation').

The piece says that at some point in the last five years, Hollywood lost its snobbery toward commercials, leaving only a few actors holding out.

Kidman has, of course been one of the most high profile advocates, but then she did sign up for that Baz Luhrman directed £18m two-minute ad for Chanel No 5, billed as the most expensive made to date.

In the US now, the figure for celebs in ads is running at about 20%, up from 10%, although it appears lower in the UK where most of the decent celeb ads feature Americans, such as Clooney for Martini or Jennifer Aniston for Barclaycard.

"That old stigma that celebrities were selling out by doing a commercial has gone by the wayside," said Linda Kaplan Thaler, the chief executive and creative officer of the Kaplan Thaler Group. She told the paper "The days of Brad Pitt doing a commercial in Japan that he thought no one was going to see are gone."

Of course, Pitt famous did a Heineken commercial that ran in the US during the 2005 Super Bowl, but it isn't quite true about celebs doing the whole big in Japan or anywhere you can get paid to flog some old crap being over.

It was only last year that everyone's favourite fighting Aussie (okay when I say favourite...) Russell Crowe launched a scathing, albeit verbal, attack on his Hollywood peers for appearing in high-paying ads including Robert de Niro, who has advertised American Express (in the US), and Harrison Ford, who has appeared in Japanese cigarette ads in the past.

During an interview with the US edition of GQ magazine, the 'Gladiator' actor said: "I don't use my celebrity to make a living. I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford.

This upset George, a sensitive save-the-world kind of soul, who fired back that: "I'm glad he set us straight. Harrison, Bob and I were putting a band together called Grunting For 30 Feet, and that would also fall under the heading 'bad use of celebrity'. Thanks for the heads up."

Ouch, and really Russell's music isn't all bad. It is definitely as good as the rest of the music that comes from Down Under... well maybe not as good as Men at Work. You just can't beat quality like that.

One of the points the NY Times article makes is that the spread of the internet has to a degree killed off the appeal of foreign ads as people get to see them world over... and laugh. The other thing the piece says is that celebs are cottoning onto "personal brand potential".

In other words they are looking are after their own brand, which is why they would now rather be associated with top end products at home than less-well-known brands abroad.

The American Express 'My Life. My Card' campaign that was a great example of that, starring the likes of De Niro (whose spot was criticised because it used footage of Ground Zero, but hey it was directed by Martin Scorsese) and our very own Kate Winslet.


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous BRING THE LINK BACK said...

where's the link from Brand Republic gone? lucky i'd book marked you - can we have the link back please?

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous roger more? said...

Just to return to an old, old thread, I'd quickly like to mention that Rosamund Pike, our favourite Bond girl, is now appearing in the west end. Our critic described her performance as being "the theatrical equivalent of a fat line of coke snorted off a naked PR girl".

If anyone gets the chance to see it, go and you'll love it. She's astonishingly good.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous the online pixie said...

Hey where's the link gone?!? Bring it back!

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous the online gnome said...

Is this the new head of content messing around the online community? What's going on? Bring back the link!!

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Peter Hitchens said...

Hey Gordon what's happened to the link?

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Gordon said...

It's there. It fell off, you get sick for a few days and everyone forgets you.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Dick Van Dyke in Diagnosis Murder said...

Are you feeling alright young man? Nothing serious I hope. I'd take a look at you myself but I've just got to solve a couple of crimes with my police detective son first.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous people power said...



At 11:23 AM, Anonymous thanks said...

reading these comments has made me feel all web 2.0 about life.

can we have an article about online communities please and how they've increased the power of the reader?

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous wolfie 'power to the people' smith said...

It would be a huge shame if this developing community was suffocated by The Powers That Be just as it was beginning to really develop as a community.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous The blagging blogger said...

The online community is really beginning to drive the agenda isn't it? Having said that there does appear to be a skills gap out there. Witness Kevin Anderson, new head of blogging at the guardian's email to staff:

We need someone with basic online community experience to help us for a couple of weeks go through the threads at Comment is Free and monitor comments for libel and violations of our talk policy. Right now, we can guarantee two weeks of work, but there might be scope for ongoing work. References required..."

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Gordon said...

I thought 'The Powers That Be' got sliced and diced?


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