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Welcome to a new era of celebrity seeding, says Radiator PR’s Gaby Jesson

6th March 2013

A few years ago, the world of celebrity seeding was an unpredictable process for PR agencies. Unless budget was being invested, success was generally based on whether or not the celebrity actually liked the product they were gifted with at that precise time/season. Then came the additional challenge of whether or not the celebrity happened to be “papped” in or with that product for it to appear in national print. Phew!

The upshot was that results weren’t guaranteed and yet it was highly competitive with many brands chasing the same celebrity targets who offered the best chance of appearing on a regular basis in the national media.

But we’ve all seen that when celebrity endorsement works, it can make a brand. An image of a celebrity, looking great wearing or using a well-branded product is a quite basic, but effective sales generator which brands as diverse as iCandy prams (as used by the Beckhams) and Reiss (as worn by Kate Middleton last year) have seen to great effect.

Now a new era of celebrity seeding has emerged and is thriving thanks to the power of social media and a wider and more diverse group of celebrity targets.

These days, some of the most effective audience influencers rarely appear in celebrity magazines, but have the highest followers and fans on social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

And because of Twitter, the journey time between gifting and endorsement is much quicker and generates image and video content which brands can use through their own social media networks.

Recently we’ve witnessed through our dedicated seeding service how a celebrity tweet about a new gifted pair of Gola Liberty trainers led to a string of compliments and sales enquiries from their fan-base followers.

Celebrities, of course, cannot be forced to use or wear something! If they don’t like a brand, seeding is worthless, so it’s an essential part of seeding to get the brand match right before embarking on a campaign.

A strategic approach to celebrity seeding, agreed in advance with a client is key to success. Agencies need to take time to consider everything from the demographics of a celebrity’s fan-base, to their personal fashion style and passions. Keeping up to speed with personality profiles and what they’re up to career-wise is key!

Based on the growth of our own celebrity seeding service, we think 2013 will be an exciting year for the emergence of new talent and the transparent way they want to engage with brands.

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