Every Brand manager knows that the fame of a football celebrity such as David Beckham can help his company sell both its corporate image and product brands to the public. It makes marketing easier. It could reduce to nearly zero the time it will take to sell one-on-one to customers. Endorsing Beckham will grab instant attention and instant recognition for the company and it’s products. So Brand managers take advantage of the imagery Beckham can give to their company - as “the best of it’s kind” “elegance” or “A leader of the lots” – by endorsing him. The Brand managers knows that customers and consumers can easily interpret such brand association.
Over the years, since September 1905 when Honus Wagner, a baseball star, first gave the J.F.Hillerich & Son company permission to use his name on its product for a consideration of $75, the endorsement of sports celebrities has raised into millions of Dollars. Well, it has also brought so much success to many brands and so many troubles too.
The lack of character by some reigning football celebrities is compounded by recent Paparazzi highly publicized negative incidents involving such high profile players such as John Terry, Wayne Rooney, on illicit sex scandals and racial comments. It affected the brands that endorsed them. For instance, “sport negativism” was a factor in Nike’s recent 20 percent drop in quarterly earnings. Bob McGee of Sporting Goods Intelligence said, “It’s a risk to endorse eccentric or exuberant players because you don’t know what such celebrity players could do next that could so hurt your company or product brand image.” Brand managers are now looking at ways to lessen the risk in using reigning football celebrities that could put their brands on the spot at anytime, by exhibiting some poor moral behaviors.
However, some clever brand managers have hit upon another solution to control behavior and image of their endorsers – “Make sure they’re dead!” “If you cannot tell what the living football celebrities can do next, you can sure tell what the dead ones can do – nothing embarrassing.” What brand managers are doing now is to “resurrect” the image of dead football celebrities like George Best, Gary Speed, Socrates etc - We all know what they represented in the past - and use them to sell positive imagery for their own brands.
Why Use Dead Celebrities, Why Not Allow Them Rest In Peace?
There are several reasons why brand managers feel more comfortable using Dead Celebrities.
First, Dead celebrities allow advertisers to tap into feeling of nostalgia about time spent, gathered around the television watching football matches in the good old days - an emotion that reverberates with baby boomers in particular.
Second, with dead celebrities, who can no longer get arrested or offend consumers, advertisers are sure of what they are getting. Latching on to players like Carlos Tevez can be controversial for a company’s brand. With dead celebrities, their qualities are known. They can’t get you into trouble. They’re safe bet.
Third, Dead celebrities are quite cheaper. You can pay to their families, lower than half of what you pay to reigning football celebrities for endorsements. Well, the families of these dead celebrities are happy anyway, after so many years, they can still make some money from their dead relatives.
This is why brand managers cannot allow the dead celebrities rest in peace. They contributed so much in their life time and such tributes should be paid to them. Their families should still be proud of them as they enjoy the post-Morten royalties that comes from endorsements.