Blog Post

What is a Celebrity Spokesperson? A Complete Guide

 

Broadcasters love them and without question a little bit of celebrity sparkle, can really boost coverage for your story, on radio, television, online and on podcasts.   This blog looks at what the term celebrity spokesperson means – and how they can elevate your brand.  

What is a celebrity spokesperson?

The terms means a celebrity who is contracted to be the voice and face of your broadcast PR campaign.  They can take on interviews themselves, or be coupled with a media trained representative from your company or brand.  The celebrity will be briefed fully on your story, key messages and brand mentions, before interviews take place; it is then up to them to be interviewed by presenters and producers and bring it to life in a positive way.  Judith Chalmers could front a campaign about holidays abroad for instance, or Peter Andre could speak about encouraging youngsters to take up singing or the arts.

But not just any celebrity will do....

It’s essential in fact that whichever celebrity you choose to front a campaign has a natural affiliation or connection with the story or product.  If the story is about mental health for example, then the celebrity should have experienced anxiety and depression themselves, or be close to a family member or partner who has.   Likewise, a famous sportsperson could be a good suggestion as a spokesperson for a story promoting the benefits of sport to schoolchildren.   Footballer David James, for example, was a great ambassador for energy company Utilita and their story about grassroots football.

 

David James footballer

At a loss for which celebrity would work for you?   We have years of experience matching up stories and spokespeople, so we’re always happy to give you suggestions about who to book.

What kind of celebrity spokesperson helps your broadcast PR campaign the most?

Usually, the bigger the name, the better the bigger the success of your celebrity PR campaign.  Even though your broadcast PR story may be very newsworthy, sometimes, broadcasters book in an interview because they have a deep rooted desire to speak to a certain celebrity.  This may be because of their fame, their reputation for being really good interviewees, or they may even have a personal connection to the broadcaster themselves!

Other times it may be because the celebrity doesn’t do that many interviews and the presenter or journalist simply feel they can’t miss out on the fantastic opportunity of finally getting to speak to them.  This is great leverage, as it is the celebrity who will open the door to the broadcaster, and by helping them out with a really good guest, they are more likely to give the broadcast PR story some great coverage too.

It’s also worth noting that radio and TV stations are also brands in themselves and as such, not all celebrities would be a good fit.  If your main goal is to land on BBC Radio 1, a station aimed at 15 to 29 year olds, then it may be counterproductive to offer celebrity PR with someone more commonly associated with the boomer generation.  Anneka Rice, for instance may not work well here, whereas Steven Bartlett (below, taking part in one of our radio days) might.  Likewise, if your aim is to land on a family friendly show such as the One Show on BBC1, it may be worth steering clear of someone controversial such as Nigel Farage.

Steve Bartlett

How can a Celebrity Spokesperson elevate your Brand?

Let’s be honest, celebrities can give broadcast PR stories the wow factor.  If you were to be recommended a product or service by one of your best friends, it is most likely you would at least check it out.  It’s the same with celebrities, they have huge followings who trust what they say.

Likewise, most celebrities these days have social media accounts, and it is likely that the celebrity publicist can also factor into the engagement contract a social media post about the broadcast PR story.  This opens up the potential of your story reaching a much bigger audience had you not chosen a spokesperson.

Talking of an already established audience, if you are really clever, you could choose a celebrity who is in high demand, maybe due to recently appearing on a big TV show, ormaybe they have just picked up a significant award.  By being strategic like this and offering someone broadcasters are dying to talk to, you are increasing your chances of landing on the bigger radio and TV networks.  Of course, they will want to talk to them about their TV show or award, so it’s worth being prepared for that, but the broadcaster will also give space to discuss the broadcast PR story, so it’s a win-win situation.

Also, don’t forget broadcasters receive celebrity PR stories all the time, sometimes hundreds every single day.  If you really want to stand out from the competition and have a broadcaster decide to cover your story over a competing one, having a well-known celebrity spokesperson can really help you stand out from the crowd.  It’s worth remembering that key calendar events are incredibly popular as hooks for celebrity PR stories – mother’s day, black Friday, and Easter for instance.  By offering out a well-known spokesperson, you are increasing your chances of getting to the top of the pile of celebrity PR stories up for consideration.

tik tok Facebook instagram logos

Celebrities versus influencers

There is much debate about what exactly makes a celebrity these days.  With the rise in social media, celebrities don’t only rise to fame from traditional channels such as movies, music and television.  These days, there are a whole host of people making themselves incredibly popular on social media platforms such as Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook.

While there is certainly a time and a place for online influencers, they don’t always translate to linear broadcast.  TV and radio broadcasters tend to be mostly interested in those that are already known in the broadcast world, and if a social media influencer only really has a presence online without much broadcast exposure, they may not be the best fit for your story.  That said, they may be experts in their field or have significant knowledge in your field, therefore, they could be considered on merit of their background alone.

 

It’s also worth noting social media influencers, while spending a lot of their time making content online, don’t always have the communication skills to conduct a well delivered broadcast interview.  They could be skilled in creating short form videos or reels for instance, but less so in the art of verbal communication such as delivering a variety of key brand messages within a 5 minute live radio interview.  If you do decide to go down this route, we do offer media training sessions to enable your chosen spokesperson to get the most out of their celebrity PR interview.  Ask a member of the team for more details.

Things to look out for when using a Celebrity spokesperson

As with everything broadcast PR related, there are many things worth considering when looking at the best celebrity spokesperson for your campaign.  One of the biggest things to look out for is making sure you do your due diligence on their background.  It could be that you’ve found a fantastic, really well known celebrity, who has agreed to front your campaign!  This is great news, until you discover they recently tweeted something really negative or derogatory about a similar subject.  If the celebrity has recently been involved in a scandal, negative press about sex, drugs or bad behaviour, it may be a good idea to steer clear, otherwise rather than supporting your brand, they could in fact negatively influence it.

 

By not doing background checks on recent interviews and social media posts, you also run the risk of the interview being side-lined and your broadcast PR story not being the rightful focus.  Much better to do the research before you decide on the celebrity you want to use, after all if you don’t, the journalist will.

Likewise, if the celebrity spokesperson has recently done a round of media interviews, some broadcasters may be less forward in booking them back in again.  While stations love a celebrity, having them on too often can make output a bit too saturated, so they try to avoid this.  It’s all very well getting an I’m a Celebrity star such as Fred Sirieix to front your campaign, but if they’ve recently spoken to all major networks about their time in the jungle, it isn’t going to help too much.  Therefore, we always advise to make sure the celebrity hasn’t done any significant interviews in the six weeks leading up to your broadcast PR campaign.

 

Also, be aware of overshadowing – if you choose a celebrity who is a bit too big for your brand or story, you run the risk of the focus of the interview being a bit too much on the celebrity, rather than what you really want to talk about.  The last thing you want is for the celebrity to become the star of the interview rather than the story!

Essential asks for celebrity publicists

While partnering with a celebrity spokesperson can come with significant benefits,  it can also come with much headache, unless you ask the right questions.  You will find that celebrities have many collaboration requests each week, and, to keep on top of them, and protect the celebrities best interests, they employ a celebrity publicist.  You will need to ask them certain questions in order to avoid difficulties further down the line.  We will work with you on this process, but some compulsory questions to consider are:

• Are there any outlets the spokesperson won’t appear on?  Sometimes, maybe due to a negative past experience, a celebrity won’t appear on a certain TV station or radio show.  It is important to understand any issues a celebrity may have with an opportunity at the point of engagement to avoid disappointment down the line.

• Is there a limit to the amount of interviews the celebrity spokesperson will take part in?  There is nothing worse than having a list of fantastic opportunities booked in for a celebrity, only for them to cancel half of them last minute because they don’t have capacity.  Make sure you understand exactly how many interviews your spokesperson will do before engaging.

• Will the celebrity spokesperson appear on TV? It seems unreasonable, but sometimes a spokesperson just won’t appear on TV.  It could be that they have their own PR lined up and they don’t want your campaign to overshadow that or they just don’t want to appear on camera right now.  To avoid disappointment, make sure you know if your celebrity spokesperson will or will not appear on TV from the off.

• What is the availability of the spokesperson?  It’s always good to start an engagement with a celebrity spokesperson with complete clarity.  There’s nothing worse than booking interviews only to find the celebrity can’t stay to complete them all and then hindering relationships with broadcasters. Check right from the off how long they are around for.

How Can Shout Communications Help with Your Broadcast PR Campaign?

Shout! Communications is a team of broadcast PR professionals with decades of experience creating and leading broadcast content for national radio and TV. As well as being broadcast PR experts, we think like the broadcast producers we used to be. We know what broadcasters want, and more importantly, what they don’t want.  We can help suggest the right kind of celebrity spokespeople for your broadcast PR campaign, as well as advising on the celebrities it could be best to avoid.  As well as this, we constantly keep on top of industry trends so we always know where best to place you or your client, be that on TV or radio.  To learn more about how we can help you with radio and TV media relations, as well as media training, do not hesitate to contact us today.

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