Make no mistake about it, folks.
Brand ambassadors – those celebrities you grovel to hire for them to headline the marketing of your brands may be doing more damage than they are giving value.
You just have not taken time from fawning over the celebrity status of these men and women to perform a proper health check.
Just imagine this.
As you sit and read this, thousands of pregnant women are in hospitals all over the country for their ante-natal and post-natal programmes.
So as the nurses are attending to them, Procter & Gamble has their consumer activation teams in most of these places telling these women just how great Pampers, the country’s number one diaper brand is the best for their newborns.
With the high-octane television commercials driving the sale of this diaper, these women are already very familiar with the American brand. Even when they are purchasing other brands of diapers, you hear them say stuff like: “Give me Huggies pampers.”
So Pampers is the generic name for diapers.
But the activation team are not resting on that laurel. In these maternity clinics, they grap speaking roles from midwives and nurses to teach would be- and already-mothers how to care for the baby the Pampers way.
They have small packets of the brand ready. These items are given out free to mothers along with a few other freebies.
Recall that in January 2016, Tiwa Savage, the most successful singer of this generation was hired to headline the marketing of Pampers. She even did a great job of the commercial, being herself a mother. So on these Pampers packs, designed to motivate mothers to continue to buy the brand, have pictures of Tiwa Savage and her son.
Their faces are easily recognizable. At least Tiwa’s.
But these women are also consuming other information material about Tiwa. These women have read, heard and discussed the scandalous stories trailing Tiwa’s marriage. They have read of the allegations that she has, allegedly, not been a faithful wife. They read about the accusations by her husband, Tee Billz, that she was having more than a “record-labelish” relationship with Mavin Records maverick, Don Jazzy. Mentions were also made of alleged trysts with Dr Sid and serial monogamist, Tu Face Idibia.
Question is: how do they reconcile the Tiwa that is promoting family values on the Pampers they are being made to patronize and the Tiwa that is in the middle of such an air-bending scandal?
This is the challenge brands take in hiring brand ambassadors. When the endorsers are on a high, expectations are that it rubs off positively on the brand.
But what happens, as it often does, when the endorser is caught in the mix of the absurd, reflecting traits and characterizations the brand would never desire to be associated with?
Tiwa is not the only one ambassador currently enmeshed in private crises that is public and which directly or indirectly touches off emotions with tendencies to tarnish the brand they headline.
On the carbonated softdrinks plane, same Tiwa Savage (who is also singing her way to the glory of ecommerce brand, Konga) is working the Pepsi marketing along with Wiz Kid.
But I also recall that Wiz has been in some kind of ugly spat that trended and lasted for weeks on the social media, with celebrity blogger, Linda Ikeji.
Not sure how that began but it was said Linda blogged a quit notice issued to Wiz Kid by his landlord. Whiz was said to have taken it personal and exchange of ranks fraught with unprintable four-letter words followed.
How lovers of Pepsi would feel each time they see the large billboards where Wiz Kid and Tiwa were selling the Pepsi “Longer Throat Bottle” can only be imagined. But I am not sure they are good memories.
And to be seen as the brand giving them the muscle to sustain and encourage indecent conversations on the social network is something some people should also worry about. Worse still, Linda Ikeji’s blog is a virtual gathering ground for millions of young people that Pepsi is using Wiz Kid and Tiwa Savage to target. But no one worried about how these millions will feel about what Pepsi’s ambassador was doing to their favourite news aggregator.
Wiz Kid is endorsing a number of other brands including Glo. But I am not sure even these guys also ever bothered to call him to order before the Lagos Police Commissioner orchestrated a well celebrated armistice between Linda and the young singer. Glo in particular does not care. They are happy with their sky full of “Glo-ing” stars. It does not matter if the glow is burning away their brand assets.
Also in the Glo family there was another major issue. Here, it was the war of the absurd that saw Twin singing duo of Peter and Paul Okoye (P-Square) wash their very unclean linen before the public.
Theirs had been managed for long and I am not sure their contract with the telecom giant had ended. It is never going to be possible to have the two sing together like they used to. Even if they do, seeing them will always be a sad reminder of how two people created from an accidental cell division in the womb could throw filial oneness to the dogs and take their war to the public.
Not sure this is good for Glo.
Although the human experience the ambassador brings to a campaign can be massively effective, you cannot control what your ambassador does. Any negative news can impact the brand negatively. Tiger Woods is a prime example of someone whose wholesome image crumbled quickly after allegations of multiple affairs went public, leaving many of the brands he was affiliated to in a difficult position.
But I am not really sure brands in Nigeria care one way or the other. Otherwise, we would have seen announcements from some of the many brands these fellas are signed on to, either distancing their brands from these silly, bad behavior or even standing by them, same way Nike stood by Tiger Woods.