Legends for Hire

Using a famous face to attract prospects to your advertising campaign may not be a budget-busting proposition after all. You just need to find the right fit.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the April 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It often takes a lot of loot to get celebrities to put their mug in your advertising-be they living or dead. In fact, some of the famously deceased demand the biggest bucks of all. Marilyn Monroe, for example, commands more money 40 years after her death than many "living legends" do today. Such is the powerful draw that these icons can be to a promotional campaign.

However, beyond the firmament of other late luminaries such as James Dean, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, the images of a great many others, both living and dead, are available-and even affordable. Depending on the size and scope of your ad campaign, it's possible to spend only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to hire the famous face you want.

That said, it's important to do your legend shopping wisely, realizing that some celebrity/product marriages work better than others do. We've all rolled our eyes a little at those that are somewhat incongruous. (Does that blond actress really spread on denture cream? And is that action star really savvy about the technology services company he's been promoting?)

However, an A+ example of the melding of a legendary image with an advertising message is captured in the ad shown here. Created for the Stuttering Foundation of America, the ad depicts the most well-spoken and famous British statesman of all time, Winston Churchill, along with this headline: "The voice of freedom never faltered, even though it stuttered."

The U.S. ad market should experience about a
increase this year.
SOURCE: Global Insight Inc.

One can't imagine a more inspiring person and message for someone who's self-conscious about such an impediment. The advertisement continues: "Winston Churchill was perhaps the most stirring, eloquent speaker of his century. He also stuttered."

So does this new option make you want to reconsider your own plans for future advertising? Is there a famous individual who would be an affordable fit for the message you have to impart? You can start your homework on the subject at CMG Worldwide, an Indianapolis company that repre- sents more than 250 of the most famous celebrities (or their estates) over the last century. Depending on the kind of campaign you run, there may well be a head-turning celebrity image to fit your promotional theme and budget.

Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and the author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.

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