With the news that Kanye West wants to team up with Ikea, John Ryan looks at other unlikely celebrity endorsements that could make an impact.
Kanye do it? Yes ye can (with apologies to Barack Obama and Bob the Builder), or perhaps you can. Entertainer Kanye West’s message, facetious or otherwise, that he’d like to work with Ikea does give pause for thought about the limits of marketing and how a name can be leveraged in store to garner additional sales for a retailer.
And if West and flat-pack furniture don’t currently look a natural fit, think about James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Omega watches or former English football captain Gary Lineker and Walker’s crisps. Admittedly, Lineker doesn’t actually design a new flavour of potato snack and Craig probably doesn’t know a great deal about the workings of a Swiss timepiece. Yet lending celebrity names to new products, stores or campaigns is as old as the hills and we shouldn’t be surprised by West’s stated aspiration.
“Lending celebrity names to new products, stores or campaigns is as old as the hills and we shouldn’t be surprised by West’s stated aspiration”
Think of the possibilities
So what could retailers in Brexit Britain reasonably expect would be greeted by consumers with open arms in terms of celebrity endorsement? Jeremy Clarkson and Whole Foods Market might not seem the most obvious combination, but if nothing else it would get both parties talked about and maybe we’d enjoy a range of organic wines where the grapes have been picked by turbo-charged harvesters? Or perhaps Nigel Farage might link up with the world’s most ethical retailer, aka The Body Shop.
Outlandish? Maybe. But it is no more unlikely than a rap star turning his hand to furniture design as part of a move to lend his talents to the world of “interior design” and “architecture”.
In truth there’s almost nothing that can’t be imagined and which would, in some measure, be possible – the only real restrictions are those imposed by retailers. The next time you’re wondering about John Lydon and butter, consider how much fun might be had seeing Chris Evans promoting winemaking at Tesco (a post-Top Gear move?) or perhaps George Osborne helping design new cash tills for Waitrose (‘George at Waitrose’?).
Retailers need to be creative and many are, but when it comes to inherent strangeness – a film star and a coffee-making machine and capsules anybody – thinking left-field is probably the right thing to do. Embrace the improbable.