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    Corporate firms, Ghanaian entertainers and endorsement deals

    by Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
    posted Wednesday, 03 June 2009 13:13| 5 Comments

    Show business or the entertainment industry is one sector that generates so much revenue for the economy of any nation and for the showbiz personalities/ celebrities or entertainers. Elsewhere, celebrities are tagged as very rich, they reside in the glitzy mansions, the drive in the most expensive and luscious cars and they fly the best private jets – and of course, they are highly respected and influential in society.

    Unfortunately, the Ghanaian celebrity or entertainer is the least rich, the least respected, drives the rickety cars, reside in the mundane house and have no say in what so ever. They are so divided and virtually can not make decisions for themselves, how much more influence the Government to do something for them, but it’s a different topic for a different platform.

    For a musician, the avenues to make money are via album sales, concerts or gigs, royalties, music tours and endorsement deals. The actor, comedian, radio/TV presenter and the others make money from their respective fields of endeavour and endorsement deals – so generating money through endorsement deals runs through all sectors of the industry.

    Endorsements are one of the most powerful marketing tools that a company/brand can use to promote a product or service. It is simply when a person talks or writes about a particular product/service in a favouarable manner and recommends that you buy it at the end of the endorsement.

    Endorsement is also a channel of brand communication in which a celebrity acts as the brands spokesperson and certifies the brand’s claim and position by extending his/her personality, popularity, stature in society to the brand.

    For the understanding of the lay man; In Ghana, there is competition within the corporate world like the banks, telecommunication groups, Textiles companies, Food processing companies, and many others and need to market their brands and services to Ghanaians. These companies need the Ghanaian celebrities as endorsers in their advertising campaigns to fulfill that role that has become a common practice for brands competing in today’s cluttered media environment.

    Research proves that celebrity endorsement advertising strategies can, under the right circumstances escalate the selling power of a brand to unimaginable heights. Celebrity endorsements if used effectively, make the brand stand out, galvanize brand recall and facilitates instant awareness.

    In Ghana, some firms are using celebrities to market their products and reaping the enormous benefits but it is woefully inadequate. Companies need to use more popular musicians, actors, comedians, satirists, radio presenters, and sportsmen as faces in marketing their brands. In Ghana music, Samini is the only artiste among a fold of popular artistes who has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with a major firm, MTN; Jackie Appiah is the only actress in the whole industry to have a signed a long lasting endorsement deal with Computer firm, IPMC and Radio and TV personalities Chris Attoh and Kwame Faakye are the faces for KASAPA. After the success story of Ghana’s Black Stars at the World Cup, companies tapped on their popularity and stature in making them endorse their brands. Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah for MTN and FanYogo, Richard Kingston for Polytank and John Mensah for Jago Milk. Do you remember Ike Quartey endorsement for Goldstar, now LG?

    Globally, firms have tasted and still tasting success with celebrity-brands partnership. The firms gain from the response of consumers to their products and services and the celebrities gain from the endorsement deals they sign for putting their faces, popularity and integrity on the line.

    Nike is ranked as one of the world’s most valuable brands, raking in $10.4billion from its consistent use of celebrities to endorse the brand. Celebrity endorsements have been the bedrock of Pepsi’s advertising. The Company has used and continues to use a number of celebrities for general market and targeted advertising including Shaquille O’Neal, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef, and Busta Rhymes.

    Since Nike signed on Tiger Woods, they have seen a $50million revenue growth. Nike’s golf line has grossed more than $250 million in annual sales. Former heavyweight champ George Foreman endorsed Meinke and it sold $10million Lean fat meat.

    If we had a good tracking device in Ghana, it would be obvious that the likes of MTN, IPMC and KASAPA have seen incredible increase in sales of their products by using celebrities to endorse their products.

    The celebrities don’t just use their faces, popularity and integrity to endorse brands for nothing - check this out; 50 Cent netted $400million for selling his 10 percent endorsement deal shares in beverage company Glaceau to Coca-Cola, Alicia Keys landed a $25million endorsement deal with Glaceau, Tiger Woods signed a lucrative deal worth $125million for Nike, Diddy is making $100million dollars for promoting the vodka drink Ciroc, Beyonce signed a deal with Cosmetic giants L’Oreal fetching the singer/ actress $5million and many others.

    If Ghanaian performers were not so secretive, we would know how much Samini, Jackie Appiah, Kwame Faakye, Chris Attoh and co. garner from their various endorsement deals.

    Ghanaian celebrities especially the musicians should not sit down and wait for endorsement deals – they can go out there and lobby for them. They are not getting money from album sales, very little from gigs, peanuts from royalties; nothing from music tours, so endorsement deal is the next viable option.

    The Ghanaian musician has a huge platform to market a product because he gets to advertise the brand during his many outings, during shows, during interviews and especially in his/her music videos.

    But not so fast; the corporate firms don’t just go for anybody to endorse their products and services. They base their selection on a number of criteria especially on the character of the celebrity.  Before signing a celebrity, the companies pick celebrities who have no questionable characters or do not involve in questionable acts, they pick celebrities who are attractive and have positive images in the society and perceived to have the necessary knowledge in the product - and they pick personalities who can positively and strongly influence the thought processes of consumers and create a positive perception of the brand.

    So the Ghanaian entertainer, in order to get a lucrative endorsement deal, must shine in his/her field, attain the maximum respect in the society and must live an exemplary live.




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