From the editor: Fame and fortune

Colin Grimshaw

The more creative among us might say that (to paraphrase Samuel Johnson) "Celebrity endorsement is the last refuge of the vacuous marketer." Certainly, the celebrity route is sometimes pursued out of sheer desperation when other attempts at rejuvenating a flagging brand have failed. Often it is down to a CMO's (or CEO's) adulation of the chosen personality, or simply because they were 'hot' at that moment in time – how many brands are going to want a piece of Usain Bolt after his triple gold medal heroics in London?

Celebrity endorsement might not be the most creative weapon in a marketer's armoury, but when executed well, when the brand, its sector, the strategic objective and the star, are perfectly aligned, it can be a powerful and effective brand communication.

Of course, there are risks that the brand may become tarnished by a celebrity's misbehaviour, or their stardust suddenly evaporating. In the first of our Focus articles on Celebrity Endorsement, 'To celeb or not to celeb?', Hamish Pringle presents the arguments for and against, with pros and cons for each of the six main ways of employing it, from the 'celebrity customer', to the 'celebrity testimonial'.