Thought Leadership

Making celebrity work for you

Jo Parkerson, Entertainment and Lifestyle Director at Bauer Media, is the first point of call for celebrity agents, publicists and PRs who want access to all of Bauer’s brands including KISS, Magic Radio, Grazia, heat and Magic Radio. She discusses how PRs can achieve editorial cut through for the celebrity ambassadors they represent.

Celebrity sells. In this cluttered and noisy world, having a celebrity represent your brand undoubtedly achieves cut through and stand out with customers while bringing brand personality to life. But as more PRs turn to big names to align their clients with, it’s no longer a case of buy a famous face and expect coverage off the back of it.

The fame game has gone into overdrive with just having a lovely buttock earning you star power. (I’m a big fan by the way. The Kardashians are my guilty pleasure.)

The ante has been upped for PRs.

With increasing frequency I’ve had to turn down pitches from PRs (no names!) pushing their celebrity brand ambassadors across our media channels.

Some pitches are more successful than others. The ones that don’t work are generally from PRs pushing ambassadors that either trying to reinvent themselves or promote a new line. These just aren’t relevant to our audiences which wants the latest celebrity scoop, or the plug is just too commercial.

Falling into their fifteen minutes

Talkablity and buzz are important. As media owners, we need to keep our audiences engaged with the latest celeb news so if you’re working with a celebrity who’s really of the moment – strike while they’re hot.

The very next morning that Ruth Langsford had her epic fall on Strictly, I had a call from her publicist and covered the story across our Entertainment Hub.

Look for news hijacking opportunities for your celebrity ambassador. Hop on the phones and pitch your story hooking into their cultural relevance and fifteen minutes of fame. 

Be bold and pick up the phone

Editors are friendly people too. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and have a call to brainstorm together a shortlist of celebrities that would work well for a campaign.  We’re also pretty tapped into pop culture and can come up with some names you might not have thought about. This happened to me when a PR I had a good relationship sat down and came up with some celeb ambassadors for a new product; I then went on to cover them when the launch. Not only because I was bought into the celeb from the beginning, but also because I thought the campaign was interesting down the line.

Get more bang for your buck

Earned coverage is hard to achieve, especially against a background of reduced media outlets and platform overload.  Remember that apart from the BBC, media owners need to strike a magical balance between making engaging editorial content and a profit. You’ve already invested heavily in your celebrity ambassador, so it makes sense to see that investment maxed by ensuring coverage by putting some small budget into a campaign to really help boost results. 

Think of it like social media advertising. Sometimes you can get great traction with organic, but a little can go a long way and really supercharge amplification.