The Power of the Celebrity endorsement

Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson loves his portrait on this Learning Pool mug.

Draw Something’s owners, OMGPOP, have had a good few weeks with 20 million active users, 3 billion drawings and a sale to Zynga worth £180m under their belt.

I wonder how, having gained phenomenal success 35 games in, OMG’s designers will be able to top that.  What a challenge it must be to get creative again, as they surely must, with such a win under their belts.

Their marketing people must be thrilled with the recent attention and delighted with the celebrity endorsements from the likes of Twitter god Stephen Fry, no less, who last week declared himself to be addicted.

The celebrity endorsement can be a gold dust for a marketer and much mileage can be gained.  Last year I met Sir Ken Robinson, thought leader, Led Zeppelin fan and thoroughly lovely man, at a City of Culture 2013 event he was speaking at in Derry.

Mary and I had our photo taken with him, had a chat and, a few emails later, got him to agree to having a pen portrait of his face on a Learning Pool mug.  Brave man.

I met Sir Ken Robinson again last week, lucky me.  He was speaking about creativity and innovation at University of Ulster’s Magee campus in Derry so I nipped along, mug in hand, to get a photo.

Of course celebrity endorsements can also be unwelcome as Burberry would testify.  Their checkered design became synonymous with all that was chav after Daniella Westbrook was photographed in head to toe checks a few years back.

Draw Something got so successful so fast because of word of mouth endorsements and it was social media that enabled this to happen.  Celebrity players with huge followings undoubtedly helped.

Marketers who don’t know how to tap into and manipulate social media channels haven’t a hope.  And this worries me because I’ve recently recruited two fairly newly qualified marketing graduates who tell me that they learnt nothing about online marketing or social media in college.

What they know they have learnt themselves in a personal mates-to-mates kind of way.  Their course reading list was woefully out of date and their tutors more so.

So learning about the biggest communication revolution since the direct mail letter has had to happen on the job.    Which is just not good enough.

3 thoughts on “The Power of the Celebrity endorsement”

  1. Interesting post, Janet. I can’t draw and never play computer games. Despite that I wondered what all the fuss on Twitter was about and downloaded the Draw Something app to take a look. I gave it a go, enjoyed it, and have been back a few times since. I would never have bothered had it been an ad on tv or in a newspaper. The power of endorsement by people I know personally or have met / respect on Twitter does carry some weight for me. Not sure about celebrity endorsement though (unless they meet the previous criteria).

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