Celebrity endorsements were once the sole preserve of the biggest and best-known businesses. Consumers have seen David Beckham fronting H&M ads, Peter Andre starring in Iceland commercials and Cheryl Cole plugging L’Oreal’s latest cosmetics, and many more besides. But it seems that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly getting in on the act.

According to Evan Morgenstein, chief executive of US-based company Celeb Experts, getting a high-profile celebrity to endorse a smaller company is quite possible these days. As a result, he believes that if an endorsement deal is done right, an SME can enjoy a significant uplift in sales.

“The world we live in now is about influencers and that’s all a celebrity really is,” Mr Morgenstein commented.

However, he insisted that a celebrity endorsement can only really work if the famous face is a genuine fan of the product or brand they are promoting.

“I’ll take someone with a [social media] following of one million over someone who has a following of ten million if that person authentically loves the product,” Mr Morgenstein said. “That’s the sweet spot. Just to get people who you pay because they have a huge audience? That’s a huge mistake.”

Case study

Danz Spas is a fairly small firm in Nottingham with modest ambitions, yet its annual turnover now exceeds £1 million. According to founder of the company Daniel Thomas, this is partly due to a somewhat fortunate crossing of paths with a famous face.

Pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor was in the market for a new hot tub three years ago and approached Danz Spas, saying that if it could offer her a good deal, she would be happy to promote and endorse the brand. Mr Thomas agreed to the idea, as he was aware that “having someone like that associated with the name would do good things”.

“We’re effectively a business nobody has ever heard of and we’re trying to convince people to spend £5,000 without ever seeing us – that’s an incredibly hard thing to do,” he said.

Ellis-Bextor not only got a discount for her hot tub, but praised it on a video posted on the Danz website. She has also commended the firm in her Twitter posts, which has given it the kind of exposure it could only have dreamed of beforehand.

With annual turnover now passing the £1 million mark, Mr Thomas is happy to credit the celebrity endorsement for helping to make this happen. Indeed, he stated that without the Ellis-Bextor connection, reaching this landmark “would have been a lot harder and taken a lot longer”.

Obviously, this kind of good fortune won’t strike for every SME, but it’s a good example of how even a smaller firm can get a celeb on board to promote and endorse their brand. In this age of social media, the barriers between celebrities and us mere mortals have broken down significantly, so it’s certainly worth seeing which famous faces you can get on board.

The value of celebrity endorsements, BBC News

Posted by Robin McCrink