The stars have clearly begun to align for Nollywood. Like the beautiful bride, corporate suitors it seems, have turned out in a duel for the hands of some of Nollywood’s brightest stars. It gets better, many are renewing cool deals.
How much is Monalisa Chinda’s smile worth? According to industry sources, Vita500, a new energy drink from South Korea shelled out N30 million for her face on the energy drink. She was also the face of the Rivers state cultural fiesta and Glo sweated millions it has been reported, to have her as their ambassador. Monalisa’s face is every photographer’s dream and her smile conjures the memory of spring. Monalisa should insure her face.
Perhaps, no corporate entity has demonstrated proven commitment to Nollywood in terms of endorsement than Globacom Nigeria Limited. The telecommunication giant at the last count has appointed close to a dozen Nollywood A-list thespians as ambassadors according to information on their website. In an industry long abandoned by corporate Nigeria, Globacom serves as a refreshing alternative.
The rave seemed to have caught on. MTN Nigeria, the company with some of the most creative advertisements in Nigeria, in the past treated Nollywood with courteous indifference. But recently, Nkem Owoh and Patience Ozokwor have featured in the company’s advertisements. Perhaps the days of the cold shoulder are over.
The use of film stars in the marketing of products is not the exclusive preserve of Nigeria. If anything, we seemed to have taken a page out Hollywood’s playbook. Gwyneth Paltrow has been tapped to be the latest ambassador for Swiss watch brand Baume & Mercier. Natalia Portman will also be the new face of the Miss Dior Cherie. Sylvester Stallone has been chosen as the brand ambassador for luxury pen manufacturer Montegrappa and popular martial arts film star Jet Li has been announced by Swiss Hublot timepieces as their newest brand ambassador.
The use of famous faces as brand ambassadors is not just limited to the use of actors and actresses. Corporations have been known to appoint as brand ambassadors sports men and women who have proven their mettle in the field. Rafal Nadal is a brand ambassador for Georgio Armani.
The use of artistes as brand ambassadors by corporations is with the objective of linking their product to a winning athlete or personality to enhance their image and boost sales revenue. Corporations use these popular artistes as validation for their products and hope to transfer their goodwill and star power so as to influence the fortune of their offerings.
Most endorsement deals are designed to offer mutual benefits to both the star and the corporation. Nevertheless, there have been some endorsement deals that went south. At the height of his fame, Tiger Woods was the world’s highest earning golfer and corporations were falling over themselves to have his face on their products until some recent misdemeanors came to light.
Ambassadors of countries usually represent the values of such nations. Hence their personalities are expected to be demure, their actions reasoned and their lifestyles lofty. Similar standards are also expected of brand ambassadors. So beyond the hype and the effect on the bank balance, brand ambassadors must live the values represented by the products they endorse. O.J. Simpson was fired as brand ambassador of Hertz when he was charged with double murder.
It is also pertinent that celebrities who sign the dotted lines in endorsement deals study the content of the contractual agreements and look out for clauses in small print. Most of the deals are worded in such a way that the contract forbids them from other deals or restrict their use of close substitutes to the product they are endorsing. Release terms and other conditionality should be negotiated properly to avoid a conflict of interest. It also makes good sense to seek legal opinion
When effectively utilized, these endorsement deals can benefit both the artiste and the industry at large. On a personal level, it provides a source of income and boosts the popularity of such artistes especially when the terms include billboards and advertisement in the broadcast media. Endorsement deals like the Glo ambassador provides an avenue to network with those who call the shots in other industries and can be a platform to push innovative ideas for film sponsorship especially those that require a huge budget. When properly harnessed, this could help foster a good relationship between Nollywood and other industries.
Isaac Anyaogu, writes and edits feature film scripts.