The world of bigger than life pitchmen is upon us large.

Celebritism is at an all time high. Huge brands are throwing giant amounts of cash to get the bigger than life superstars to help sell their products. The instant recognition of a celebrity spokesperson delivers a brand a big boast, but not without major risks… it could also override years of brand development if the celebrity is not a true brand ambassador… or if that celebrity falls.

So what is a “true brand ambassador”?

  • a person who’s reputation represents the beliefs of your brand.
  • a person who can speak and represent your brand from the inside.
  • a person who believes in your brand.
  • a person who is an actual user of your brand.

So is Ron Burgundy a true brand ambassador for Dodge?
The Dodge Durango campaign is true comic genius. It sets new levels for brand ambassadors and cross brand promotions. Not only is the pictchman a character from the upcoming “Anchorman 2“, but the Chrysler commercial is also a Paramount spot promoting the release of the movie!

But is the Ron Burgundy character played by comic genius Will Ferrel a true brand ambassador? I say no. The Dodge brand is a confused brand known for tough, hard working pickups, fast street cars and big SUVs, so what is the tie to a loud and challenged TV anchorman from the 70’s?

According to Dodge Brand CEO Tim Kuniskis from the October 7, 2013 story in the Hollywood Reporter, the similarities between Burgundy and Durango are: “Just as Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal, the 2014 Dodge Durango also stands out in a crowd with its combination of best-in-class power, towing and fuel economy, in addition to its class-exclusive technology.”

This is a very funny campaign that will garnish a ton of attention and redirect the market focus for the Durango, but does it build the brand or just make fun of it?

This is a car campaign that will be remembered for the character not the car.

Does John Travolta get Bombardier Business Jets?
Imagine you are one of the world’s most well known actors and you are also an airline pilot with your own personal airstrip at your front door. Imagine you already own a Bombardier Learjet and you get a call about becoming a brand ambassador for Bombardier Business Jets… you’d say sure! And that is just what happened between Bombardier and John Travolta…. A perfect fit of celebrity and brand.

Since joining Bombardier in 2011 as a brand ambassador, John Travolta has been one of the faces of the business jet programs. So involved that in May 2013, he was part of the test flight crew for the new Challenger 350. In his words “I felt like an astronaut,” he told the crowd at a packed Bombardier booth at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) Geneva. “We did full performance takeoffs and climbed straight to 41,000 feet. This aircraft is definitely going to break records. It’s like a homesick angel.”

Travolta is a true brand ambassador. 

Does Christopher Walken fit Jack & Jones Premium?
When my favorite actor shows up as the strange dark tailor for Jack & Jones Premium mens line, I sat up in my chair and took notice. Christopher Walken is one of the most dynamic actors to appear on the entertainment scene in the past 30 years, and Jack & Jones have him starring as the magical tailor in the “made from cool” campaign in commercials, POP, ads and online. His distinctive look and style ring strong with the dynamic brand.

Very fun and an on target campaign to increase exposure on a worldwide base. Well done Mr Walken.


What does Drake know about the Toronto Raptors brand?

In September 2013, international rap star, Drake, was part of a major press conference in Toronto announcing that he had been appointed as the brand ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and the spokesperson for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. A giant boast for basketball in Toronto.

The goal of appointing Drake as brand ambassador is to bring pride and style to the Raptors, which will help build the team and hopefully retain players. This alignment of celebrity and brand is on target.

“I’m really out here with the people. I’m in touch with what they want to see.” Drake said at a news conference September 30th confirming Toronto as the 2016 host. “I really just want excitement for this team. I want us to be one of the biggest teams in the league.”

It is a lot to expect a rapper to help rebrand and rebuild the Raptors, but Drake has the style, the connections and star power to make it happen and he is also one of Toronto’s top pitchmen.


A brand is built over time, so as long as the brand ambassador is in tune with the long term strategic growth plan and they are a “true” ambassador, they can add extreme value to your brand.

But remember what happened with Nike and Tiger Woods? Sometimes even a perfect brand ambassador can prove that no one is perfect.



Grant Ivens, RGD
brand surgeon | rocket scientist
Say What! Communications Corp.
“love your brand”

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