According to this article, celebrity endorsements, also known as celebrity branding, “is a form of advertising campaign or marketing strategy used by brands, companies, or a non-profit organization which involves celebrities or a well-known person using their fame to help promote a product, service or even raise awareness on environmental or social matters.”
When we think of celebrity endorsements, some popular brand/celebrity duo’s come to mind. Arguably the most easily recognizable are George Foreman Grills, endorsed by George Foreman; Daniel Craig for Heineken; and Drew Barrymore for CoverGirl.
The easiest celebrity endorsements to spot can be seen on online ads, found inside magazine spreads, or heard through TV and radio advertisements, but more recently, popular music has been used to intentionally and unintentionally endorse products. Take a look at three celebrities who have included endorsements in their Billboard Top 100 hits.
On October 6th, 2012, Jason Aldean’s song “Take a Little Ride” hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Country songs. A few months prior to the release of this chart-topping single, Aldean altered the lyrics of his song to accommodate a new endorsement deal with the Coors Brewing Company. With this change, “swing by the quick stop, grab a little shiner bock,” became ”swing by the quick stop, grab a couple Rocky Tops.”
In March of 2007, Rihanna broke into mainstream music with her lead single, “Umbrella.” This pop, hip hop, and R&B song holds the number 3 spot on the 100 best songs of 2007, and won Video of the Year and Monster Single of the Year at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. In addition to Umbrella’s commercial success, Rihanna has had success in the market of celebrity endorsements. Before the song was released, Totes Isotoner (a Cincinnati based Umbrella manufacturer) partnered with the young superstar to produce a line of customized umbrellas, featuring sparkly fabrics and glittery charms on the handles. The company, which had never tried a partnership like this before, says it now reaches younger shoppers and receives online traffic like never before.
During the 2015 Super Bowl 50 Halftime show, Beyonce premiered a song from her 6th studio album, Lemonade, entitled “Formation.” Around the 3:00 mark, Beyonce’s lyrics mention going to Red Lobster. While this may seem like a silly homage to “wining and dining,” the national Red Lobster chain actually saw a 33% increase in sales after Beyonce’s mention of their restaurant. Red Lobster, who were completely blindsided by the song mention, welcomed the free publicity with a series of tweets. These included a play on their Cheddar Bay Biscuits, calling them “Cheddar Bey Biscuits.”