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Jackie Chan was recently seen kicking up a storm on behalf of ESCAPE, an on-demand entertainment website that boasts it’s abilities “anytime, anywhere.”

This got us thinking about celebrity endorsements and what works and what doesn’t. And as far as we’re concerned, this commercial was a little less than praise-worthy.

Our contention is not with the message of the commercial, because come to think of it, it got the message through in a somewhat entertaining manner, but therein lies the rub. Our contention is with the idea behind the commercial.

If you are ready to splash a fat wad of cash for a celebrity endorsement, it should be more than “somewhat entertaining”; it should blow the socks off any unsuspecting victim.

Cue Mr. Van Damme.

The  “Epic Split” commercial from Volvo featuring the “Muscles from Brussels” struck a chord within all of us, so much so that it garnered 69,953,835 views and counting.  It sent its message across in an astounding manner and managed to make it the talking point for almost anyone with Internet access.

Like mascots, the celebrity is not your brand.

The celebrity is simply used as a communication tool to speak to your target audience – to help reinforce your key message and of course, validate your brand through their public image.

Simply throwing a celebrity into your commercial touting a million dollar smile and sporting two thumbs up isn’t going to work in this day and age. You need something special. You need reason. You need a communicative purpose to splash that cash – one that is in line with your overall message.

So do we want to buy into ESCAPE simply because Jackie Chan is doing something we’ve seen him do since Drunken Master in ’78? That’s for the audience to decide. Did it wow us? Definitely not.

So the next time you see a celebrity endorsement with their signature at the bottom of the poster and the word ‘celebrity’ in parenthesis, take a mental note of how and why they’ve decided on that character. Because at the end, branding is about creating a personality, and if their celebrity isn’t in line with the brand, then it’s just a cheap trick to get your attention. And no one likes to be tricked.

What’s your brand’s personality?

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How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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