Celebrity Marketing: The Who’s Who in a Celebrity’s Entourage

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Knowing each members role in a talents team greatly increases the chance your offer will be accepted.

When deciding which celebrity to hire for a marketing campaign, it is important to remember that you are not just solely dealing with the celebrity. Talent comes with a team of various people that ensure the best deals, treatment, and representation. Celebrities rarely travel alone and will likely bring a member of their team such as an agent, publicist or manager during campaign related activities. These people handle various business and personal needs, and are often referred to as a celebrity’s “entourage.”

Before a celebrity arrives to campaign related events, it is important to know the role of each member on a celebrity team –

Agent: Commonly referred to as a talent or booking agent, this person finds jobs and handles the career for the celebrity that has employed them. It’s likely that marketers will deal with agents when attempting to recruit talent for campaigns or endorsements. Agents help their clients get auditions, communicate with casting directors, work on contracts so their client gets the best deal and arrangements, etc. Various types of public figures have agents such as actors, authors, directors, musicians, models, professional athletes, and even screenwriters.

Publicist: A publicist’s job is to handle their client’s relationship with the media, and help generate and manage publicity. Publicist’s tasks include arranging interviews and public appearances, handling press releases, organizing social media accounts, and advising on how to handle bad publicity. Unlike agents and managers, publicists often work for a flat fee instead of a percentage of the talent’s income.

Attorney: Most of the work of an entertainment attorney involves drafting contracts, negotiation, and mediation. These attorneys cover various areas including media, and legal fields such as corporate, finance, intellectual property, and privacy. Entertainment attorneys work with agents to finalize contracts for various projects, including compensation and participation. Some attorney’s job descriptions have become comparable to those of a star’s agent, manager or publicist; they are not limited to paperwork, but assist in building their client’s career.

Manager: Celebrity managers wear a variety of hats in their job, and have the ability to act as agents, publicists, contract negotiators, etc. Their responsibilities and duties can vary widely on a day to day basis. Managers help celebrities create daily schedules, create long-term career goals, give financial advice, and help to hire other members of a celebrity’s team. They are often the closest team member to a celebrity, which is why many enlist their parents or other family members to serve in this role.

Stylists: Stylists, or a celebrity’s “glam squad,” is a crucial part of their entourage. During filming and other campaign activities, celebrities can require their personal hair stylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe team to attend various events. Celebrity stylists can often times be costly, and have their own individual representation teams.

Label and/or publisher (if dealing with music): A label or publisher is the person or company that handles the issuing of music, images, books, or other works for sale and use in the entertainment industry. If marketers are looking to use a song in their campaign instead of a celebrity, they would go through the label or publisher that has the rights to said song.

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How to Manage Celebrity Marketing With Your Agencies

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Establishing who leads celebrity marketing and a clear role for each agency removes barriers which undermine a campaign.

I lead a specialty agency that matches consumer brands with celebrities, as well as music licensing for advertising campaigns and promotions. When the company was founded in 1970, it was the first agency of its kind. Our staff is made up of individuals who possess a great amount of experience and talent related to our specific focus. For instance, one of my partners is an attorney—an expert in celebrity contracts and negotiations. He leads the endorsement division contracting highly compensated celebrities. This unique expertise is rarely housed in a marketing communications agency.

If you are considering a multi-agency approach for a celebrity supported campaign, you should define who is responsible for what and who will lead your team.

A celebrity marketing agency should be limited to its specialty area, as should all of the other agencies involved.

Here are seven rules for keeping your agencies happy and working together, not against one another.

1. Stay in Your Area of Expertise

No agency should feel they must sell themselves as “full service”.

Have the creative agencies handle the creative work, and let the celebrity agency handle celebrity related work.

2. Give Everyone a Seat at the Table

Make sure that all parties involved have their voices heard. Discuss the needs, asks and wants from all sides to ensure everyone is on the same page.

3. Have the Celebrity Agency Provide Research

E-Poll provides the kind of timely celebrity information you need to make a wise choice. It includes a wide range of stats to determine a celebrity’s marketability in regards to your target audience.

Poll the brand team and have agencies add their own recommendations to help the celebrity agency create a list of 3 to 10 celebrity finalists. This way, if the number one choice declines, you can move onto the next immediately.

4. Make the Final Celebrity Selection

While everyone may have a say in the suggestions, the final celebrity selection is left to the brand and/or roster agencies who know the target audience best.

5. Negotiate the Contracts

Fee negotiations need to be left to an expert who has experience creating celebrity contracts with the appropriate protections.

Having a celebrity agency work proactively through the life of the contract saves brands significant time and headaches. Delayed approvals can derail a campaign or create a legal issue.

6. Execute the Campaign

Let the appropriate agencies carry out the campaign. Each agency works in its specialty area. The celebrity agency ensures all campaign deadlines involving the celebrity are met.

7. Have a Representative Present at all Production and Events

Brands and agencies working on site have enough to worry about. Being the “bad guy” is best left to the celebrity agency who has established a relationship with the agent and can mediate disagreements quickly in favor of the client.

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Three Ways to Get A Celebrity Marketing Deal Done Quickly

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The time it takes to close an endorsement deal is an important factor to launch your marketing campaign on time.

Most companies can be slow making marketing decisions and even slower adding in a review by the legal department. The amount of time it takes to execute an agreement is often overlooked or underestimated by the marketing team.

Understanding your company’s policy on timing, legal review and payment terms beforehand, will allow you to execute a campaign on very short notice when you don’t have the luxury of time it would normally take to close.

As the saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Entering into a spokesperson or endorser deal is no different.

Here are three ways to get the deal done quickly.

1. Research

First, conduct research to identify the best qualified celebrities for your campaign. Here’s a brief list of considerations to find the candidate that is the best fit for your brand:

  • Allocate a preliminary budget range, roughly 5 percent of your media spend is good place to start.
  • Identify an initial list of celebrities to vet by determining those who would be a good fit. Eliminate those with conflicts or that aren’t within your budget.
  • Let advertising, PR, social media, etc., help create your celebrity “short list”. You’ll need to determine which service is most important to your marketing campaign.

2. Prepare the contract

When preparing the initial draft, it is important to ask for everything that you think is needed upfront. It is much easier to take items away in the negotiation process then it is to add more services and usages. This will also save you money by asking now, not later when leverage is reduced. Most of the time, companies have already spent a lot of time and money to create a template for an initial draft for just about any type of agreement. If so, this is a great time saver in legal review as the lawyers are usually less concerned about services than the actual body of the contract/legal terms.

3. Negotiation and legal review

Knowing your own time-table and the time it takes for the legal review is crucial to shortening the process. Most of the time, there will be comments on the first draft of the agreement from the celebrity. If your legal department requires two-week time periods for document review, recognize this timing and build it into timing the campaign launch. A celebrity’s legal team can also take another couple of weeks, so having a good understanding of their time-table is equally important.

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