An insight by Michael MacRitchie
Understand the spokesperson’s point of view: Many clients will mention to me that a celebrity is a fan of their company’s brand or product. So they assume that the celebrity will want to work with them at a discounted rate (or even free!). It’s important to be savvy in the entertainment industry, as these types of assumptions could be perceived as amateur. Targeting talent that has a genuine interest in your product is a great first step, but the talent will expect the partnership to be fully paid for and no discounts will be offered simply because there is a shared interest. Understanding endorsements from the talent perspective and client perspective will help to build smart strategies for securing talent and looking professional.
Assuming a celebrity will be inexpensive if their calendar isn’t booked: “But what has Nicole Kidman done lately?” was an actual quote from a client wanting the mega star at rock-bottom prices. The reality is that the mega star was taking a hiatus from films to focus on family. Most of us realize that A-list celebrities like Nicole Kidman can be incredibly scrupulous about projects and partnerships. Even celebrities who are not as top tier can decline your campaign for the right dollar amount. It’s important to understand that celebrity schedules do not always revolve around their work and endorsements — they have personal lives too. This key piece of information will allow you to focus your energies on securing the right talent.
Research, research, research While some initial online research about a celebrity is important, there is a lot of outdated or inaccurate information online. Enlisting professional help in this area will help you to get a 360-degree view of what the celebrity is working on as well as upcoming projects. For example, if you’re targeting a celebrity that just wrapped a media tour to promote a book, now probably isn’t the best time to hire them for a campaign, since they’ve recently done the TV circuit.
Negotiate time and be respectful of a spokesperson’s schedule. A spokesperson’s schedule is tight. One cannot assume just because they are your organization’s spokesperson that they will just drop everything for you because they believe so much in your cause. Prioritize your lists of requests beginning with the most important items and go from there. Like any PR campaign, you want to get the biggest bang out of your bucks.
Anticipate budgets: Many clients are surprised at how much they will need to budget for a campaign, but for a multi-tiered campaign there is usually a lot of time involved between preparation, media interviews and events. Also, in many cases the celebrities will need to travel, so consider extras such as flights, meals, hotel, on-the-ground transportation and special requests. Before you present budget parameters, think through all the possible expenses, including a little negotiating cushion!