The setting: The boardroom of a large advertising agency.
Boss: Alright, I’ll cut to the chase. We all know why we’re here. We’ve been contracted to help sell Teekanne, an herbal tea made in Germany. Let’s hear some ideas. Jones?
Jones: I’ve got just the motto, sir. “Teekanne sure can make tea!”
Boss: Brilliant. What else we got? Smith?
Smith: I’ve been working all month on a campaign based around a mascot, sir. I present to you, Teekanne Sam! He’s a Toucan with a colorful beak that can smell Teekanne herbal tea!
Boss: Good work, Smith. I’m tempted to just go with that. I did have one thought I’d like to bat around a little: what about a celebrity endorsement? You know, a famous person who the average American consumer knows, trusts and admires enough to take a chance on a product they wouldn’t otherwise buy. Suggestions?
Thompson: Duh. Steffi Graf.
Boss: Nailed it.
The other day I was wandering through our grocery store when I saw this:
Unt buy my tea!
I didn’t think much of it until I’d walked over an aisle or two, at which point it dawned just what, exactly, I had seen: A cardboard display touting Steffi Graf’s endorsement of an herbal tea! Which meant, in turn, that an herbal tea company had paid good money to Steffi Graf for her to endorse their product in the hopes of selling more herbal tea. At which point they constructed a marketing campaign around Steffi Graf’s endorsement. Steffi Graf retired in 1999! From tennis! I just . . . I don’t . . . I’m baffled. I don’t know what to say, other than, “This is some delicious herbal tea that I bought because I have long admired German tennis great Steffi Graf!”
Shockingly, Teekanne only takes the silver medal for the most confusing celebrity product endorsement I’ve seen in the past few months. I discovered our gold medal winner while attending a Mets game a month or two ago. As we entered the game we were offered a sample of a new brand of dog food. This isn’t just any dog food, though. This is “Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods.”
All the kids are buying it!
Can somebody help me out here? Either I need to reexamine all of my assumptions about companies wanting to put their capital to efficient uses or – and this is the less preferable alternative – I’ll be forced to concede that endorsements from long-forgotten players of relatively obscure sports and even-longer-forgotten octogenarian stars of musty old sitcoms actually increase sales of herbal tea and dog food, respectively. I’m serious. I need to find some answers on this one.
For Part 1, please see here.
Oh, and by the way, how awesome is it that you can get an Usher-themed Mastercard? I did a little research on this amazing product, and found the following quote, which may be one of the best things I’ve ever read. “‘With the Usher Raymond IV Debit MasterCard, Usher’s fans have a great way to connect with their favorite entertainer and business entrepreneur, all while enjoying the payment flexibility enabled by a MasterCard card,’ said Bill Mathis, senior VP, Member Relations, MasterCard International, in a statement released last week. ‘Cardholders gain access to financial benefits others might take for granted, such as simplified money handling, budget tracking, bill payment and everyday purchasing power.'”
Usher is easily my favorite business entrepreneur.
Here’s Usher’s statement on the matter. “‘This past year has been a year of real growth and change for me, so I felt that this was the perfect time for me to step it up in the business world,’ Usher said last week. ‘As an entertainer, I make music for everyone, and I wanted the same mindset to apply to all my business ventures. That’s why I’m so excited to work with MasterCard to launch the Usher Raymond IV Debit MasterCard which will financially empower people.'”
And people say hip-hop is over-commercialized.