Star-ify your Product PR

Star-ify your Product PR

#1 – Star-ify your Product PR
Lots of brands try to tap into today’s celebrity culture media frenzy, but it doesn’t always work.  And while hiring a celebrity to talk about your product may seem like an easy PR score – a lot of hard work, strategic planning and money is required so it may not be the easy ‘hit’ you’re hoping for.
But let’s say you already have a celebrity connected to your brand (because securing a celebrity endorsement is a blog series unto itself….). How do you leverage that celebrity affiliation for PR?
At C&C we’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with numerous celebrities on PR campaigns for our clients spanning from international movie stars and models like Diane Keaton, Julianne Moore, Blake Lively, Naomi Watts, Andie MacDowell, Frieda Pinto, Milla Jovovich and Karlie Kloss for L’Oréal Paris to Canadian icon and Yummy Mummy Erica Ehm for Egg Farmers of Ontario.

Here I am with Margaret, Caroline Duguay formerly of L’Oreal Paris and the amazing Ms. Diane Keaton in our interview suite at the Ritz-Carlton.
In this 5 part blog series, I’ll share a few of our learnings and best practices. First off, here are some initial discussion points to help kick off your celebrity-focused PR campaign:
Getting Started – It’s crucial at the beginning to have an open dialogue with the celebrity’s agent, manager, publicist and/or assistant about the star’s requirements for PR campaigns. We start each campaign off with a wish list of initiatives and sample schedule in writing as a starting point for discussion to make sure that their requirements and our objectives are in sync.

Here are a few questions to ask in the beginning stages:

  • Is your Star willing to talk about your product? How comfortable is the Star talking about your product? This can be a deal-breaker so it’s smart for everyone to address this and get it out in the open right from the beginning. Some celebrities have clauses in their contracts that they won’t do PR for the brands, just appear in the ads so best to review the contract first before even starting down this path.
  • Do they have a maximum number of hours they’re contracted to work per day? Is there any flexibility with this? Does this include hair and makeup time? If so, you may be working with a window of 5 – 6 hours a day so you’ll need to plan out their time and your PR opportunities super efficiently.
  • From a budget stand point, especially if travel is involved, you need to know how many people the Star is contractually allowed to travel with? Do they have preferred hair and makeup artists? How will their wardrobe for appearances be handled? It’s amazing how fast these costs can add up so it’s essential to understand all the costs right from the beginning.
  • What timing are you looking at? Celebrities have very hectic schedules so finding a window of opportunity can be very challenging and may require long lead times – and you’ll need to stay flexible because often schedules aren’t totally confirmed until the last minute.
  • Who is the main point of contact you’ll be working with on the day to day organization? Trust me, there will be day-to-day (and sometimes minute-by-minute) coordination.

The fabulous Julianne Moore featured in The Kit that C&C and L’Oréal Paris pitched and coordinated during the Toronto International Film Festival 2017
PR Tactics to Consider

  • One popular approach for Celebrity Product PR is to have the Star come to Canada and do one-on-one interviews with key media and/or host a product launch event. Check out C&C’s results section for the L’Oreal Paris & Diane Keaton case study for a look at one of our Celebrity Product PR events.
    But time and budgets do not always allow for your star to come to Canada to meet with all your top media. So what else can you do? Depending on your brand’s Star(s) you might consider leveraging their global contract and travelling to them – which is a more cost conscious approach too. Ask yourself:

    • Can you set up an exclusive cover shoot/interview with the Star in LA or NYC or wherever they live?
    • Can you take Canadian media backstage while the Star shoots your next ad and do a quick interview?
    • Can you do a consumer contest with a grand prize to have dinner with the Star?
    • Can you integrate the Star into your social media initiatives with special messages/videos/Facebook Live just for your online community?
    • Can you arrange to bring media/consumers to the Star’s concert or movie premiere and arrange a quick meet and greet?
    • Can you set up phone interviews with the Star and your key media?
    • Can you send your Star (or other celebrities for that matter) your product to wear/use and then promote their affinity to your product?
    • So many choices so little time!

    The always elegant Blake Lively striking a pose at the 2017 inaugural Women of Worth gala at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto. 
    Stay tuned for my next blog in this series where I’ll share tips for maximizing your message and time with your brand’s star.
    ~ Cathy