If you haven’t heard, Brooklyn Beckham’s photographing a Burberry fashion campaign, and the fashion world is furious.
Last week, the Beckhams’ oldest child took to Twitter to announce the exciting news that he was to photograph an upcoming Burberry campaign, and shortly afterwards, the outrage descended.
Fashion photographers galore took to the web to criticise the decision from Burberry, calling it a “devaluation of photography”, “totally unacceptable” and “sheer nepotism”.
Thing is, they’re missing the point.
If anyone thinks for one second that 16-year old Brooklyn will be left to photograph the shoot on his own, and that other professional photographers won’t be intimately involved in the shoot, they’re deluding themselves.
Choosing Brooklyn as the lead photographer for the campaign isn’t an act against other hard-working photographers. Rather it’s a genius move that underlines once again the importance of celebrity.
Here’s a question: would anyone be talking about Burberry’s latest campaign if it was an A-Level student from Lincoln taking the pictures rather Brooklyn Beckham?
Nope. And that’s precisely the point. By leveraging the power of Brooklyn’s celebrity status, Burberry have been able to attract way more coverage than they would otherwise have done.
And not only that, but they’re not even paying for it. They’re letting the fashion press run the story and communicate what’s happened to the precise market that buy Burberry products.
It doesn’t end there either. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that when this shoot’s done, everyone in the fashion world will be scrutinising Brooklyn’s pictures with a critical eye, looking to be proved right about his unsuitability as the photographer for the campaign.
All the while giving the Burberry products in the photographs column inches and webspace.
What Burberry understand is the importance of celebrity, and if some of these photographers understood it too, then there’d be a lot they could take from this.
Burberry have latched on to a person who they know will create a buzz, or “heat” as Dan Kennedy calls it. And no family in the world does that better than the Beckhams.
I mean, let’s face it, who was buying mass market Scotch whiskey before David and Simon Fuller released Haig? (Yes, Fuller’s got his finger in that pie too).
And the Range Rover Evoque never struggled to sell thanks to a healthy endorsement from Victoria.
In his “Ultimate Marketing Plan” book, Kennedy says:
“We are a celebrity-obsessed, celebrity-dominated and celebrity-driven culture, and it is foolish to ignore it or insist it doesn’t apply to your business; it’s smart to capitalise on it”
The Beckhams aren’t the only example of capitalising on the power of celebrity – think Michael Jordan and Nike, Kate Moss and Rimmel and the greatest celebrity endorsement of all time, George Foreman and his Lean Mean Grilling Machine.
All those endorsements have had significant impacts on the sales of those products.
Now I don’t want to second guess you, but I’m willing to bet that some of you reading this will be thinking that you haven’t got a spare couple of million sitting around to give to David Beckham to get him to endorse your product.
The good news is that you don’t have to.
The reality is that there are plenty of XYZ celebrities that WILL endorse what you do, for a lot less than Becks would ask for, while still having a significant impact on your business.
You see, if your business doesn’t have the same level of brand awareness and buying power as a company like Burberry, you can use less well known celebrities that your niche responds to.
They might be a Z list celeb in the world of Hello and Heat, but an A lister within your target market.
A example that resonates with me is Eric Bristow – the 1980s darts player. Now if you’re not a darts fan and you walked past Eric in Staffordshire on a wet Saturday, you wouldn’t give him a second glance. But if you’re into darts, you’ll know exactly who he is, and if he endorsed a darts product, you’d be inclined to buy it.
That’s exactly what Bristow did – if you were a pub player looking to buy darts when he was in his pomp, you got the “Eric Bristow Crafty Cockney Harrows 23g” as your tungsten of choice. Other manufacturers didn’t stand a chance.
I was with a couple of Private Clients last week who are looking into how they can do something similar, and what they’ve discovered is that by sticking to their niche and looking for celebrities that are recognisable within it, they’ve been quoted reasonable figures to work with those people. Be under no illusion, I’m not talking hundreds but for a few thousand you could get the perfect match.
The fact of the matter is that all sorts of things influence your prospects’ buying decisions, and one of the biggest factors in the buying process is the level of trust your prospect has in what you do. Leveraging celebrity status is one great way to increase that trust.
Everyone likes to buy from a trusted source, and purchases will reflect that.
Like it or not, if a celebrity endorses your product, people are more likely to trust you. Whether it’s because they believe that the celebrity would be mad to endorse a dud product or because they believe that that celebrity generally makes good decisions, it will affect their buying behaviour.
So I encourage you to spend 20 minutes or so listing who could be the perfect match for you and your business and then give them a call. It’ll be a lot more affordable than you realise.
Let me know how you get on.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a glass of Haig and a game of darts with Eric…
Talk again soon.