June 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM
When it comes to publicising a new car and creating exactly the right brand image, what could be better than a celebrity endorsement? Done well, the answer is “almost nothing,” and this is why it has been such a popular method of promotion within the industry since time immemorial. Of course, the phrase “done well” is quite a caveat, and if things do not go quite to plan, then the answer rapidly changes to “almost anything.”
Let's take a look at some of the most iconic celebrity endorsements of all time to see what a powerful marketing tool this can be. And perhaps at some of the less successful ones too, just for fun.
Andy Murray's Jaguar
Jaguar picked the perfect celebrity alongside the perfect environment to promote the release of its XF Sportingbrake. There is something about the car that just screams “strawberries and cream,” and Wimbledon has never had a more popular winner.
Jamie Murray's Peugeot
Jamie might have spent most of his career in his brother's shadow, but Peugeot were quick to pick up on his star quality to promote their latest offering. And they could not have timed it better, as he went on to win the doubles in the Davies Cup.
Victoria Beckham's Posh Land Rover
When Land Rover launched their Evoque, they didn't just ask Posh to promote it – they even let her design a special limited edition model. With hand finished paint and gold plated accents, it certainly caused a stir – as did its £80,000 price tag.
Thierry Henry's Va va voom
OK, it was a little bit irritating, but any phrase that has entered the public consciousness so effectively has to be hailed as a marketing success. The football star's endorsement of the Clio sent sales figures through the roof.
On the launch of its StreetKa convertible, Ford needed to emphasise the cute, fun and cheeky side of motoring. Having Australia's favourite daughter crouching in front of it wearing a mischievous grin and not much else was certain to do the trick!
Justin Timberlake's Audi
So much for the success stories. Do you remember the cringe-inducing mini movies featuring Justin Timberlake driving around in an A1 prior to its 2010 Geneva launch? If so, counselling is available to erase the memories.
Nigel Tufnel's Volkswagen
Why one of the largest corporations on the planet thought that it would be a good idea to have a fictitious guitarist standing on the roof and playing a guitar solo while wearing a kilt is one of those questions that is perhaps best left unanswered. It was not even a Scottish promotion, as the car in question was the US-spec Passat.
If the above were strange, this one caused all the wrong kind of publicity. Getting Jenny from the Block to drive the new Fiat 500 through the Bronx sounded like a great idea, but the cutesy portrayal of New York's most deprived district was seen as opportunist and insincere. The news that they had actually used a body double for the location shots put the final nail in that ad campaign's coffin.