Both great sportsmen – but of less interest to us here than the fact that both were much sought-after brand ambassadors.
And their scandals are such that it looks like brands will desert them even if they manage to get back into the groove as far as their sporting performances are concerned.
It’s getting tougher for the celebrities. You have nosy journalists, the paparazzi, jealous colleagues, spurned girlfriends all adding grist to the mill. If the celebrity in question has his pants down where he ought not to, he’ll be caught with his pants down.
It’s tougher for the brands that sign on celebrities.
In the Terry instance, brands that he endorses would have been looking forward to a Chelsea, led by Terry, winning the English Premiership. They would have looked forward to their brand ambassador leading England to the World Cup.
They would have been working on communication ahead of the World Cup. Some of it, I daresay, would have been canned and ready to go.
Now, with Terry’s transgression count approaching Tiger Woods’, all those hopes come crashing down with a thud. Can Terry sell children’s products any more? Can brands that need trust and integrity as values count on Terry?
It’s the more sober, staid celebrity who will gain. These celebs will not be able to give brands the super-boost that a Tiger or a Terry could, but they would deliver audiences continuously – without brand managers worrying about a collapse.
The new dimension is that brand managers will have to spend a lot more time than they already do on understanding the celebs they target. And they will have to spend a lot more time on scenarios?
What if the celeb gets caught for drunken driving (that’s happened)? What if the celeb is tainted with allegations of drug use (that’s happened)? What if the celeb is embroiled in a sex scandal (of course that’s happened)? What if the celeb gets caught in a murder plot (that’s happened, too)?
What if you forgot about the celebrities and went back to models and actors in your next campaign?