Using celebrities as brand ambassadors is hardly a new concept. Creswell highlights that, "film stars in the 1940s posed for cigarette companies, and Bob Hope pitched American Express in the late 1950s. Joe Namath slipped into Hanes pantyhose in the 1970s, and Bill Cosby jiggled for Jell-O for three decades. Sports icons like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods elevated the practice, often scoring more in endorsement and licensing dollars than from their actual sports earnings."
Large corporations realized that the overall image of a brand ambassador within society is an integral element to attract consumer attention. As a result, there was a substantial increase in celebrities as brand ambassadors, it was assumed that integrating a celebrity to a brand would increase chances of it being sold, which made companies value the business ideal of a 'brand ambassador.' The case study of the famous watch brand Omega, illustrates that the brand faced a severe crash in sales in the 1970s due to the Japanese Quartz phenomenon. Michault believes that, "by the time Omega had seen the error of its ways, the damage to its reputation was done. From the 1970s to the end of the 1990s, it was no longer seen as a luxury watch company. It was then for the first time in 1995, that Ms. Cindy Crawford became the new face of Omega, introducing the age of the celebrity brand ambassador. The man behind this marketing ploy was believed to be Jean-Claude Biver, whose strategy changed the entire landscape for branding in the future. During this time, many companies expanded their annual budgets to meet the financial liabilities that came with celebrity endorsing.
Celebrities are popular and followed by many people so it makes sense that marketers benefit from using them in order to get their message across. A celebrity can capture consumers' attention link the brand with their own personal image and associate their positive attributes with those of the product concerned. However, in some cases celebrity branding could go terribly off the script and affect product revenue.For example, recent doping charges on Lance Armstrong cost him $30 million in endorsements. Celebrity, world-famous athlete, he stepped down as the chairman of Livestrong. On the other hand, Nike sponsor to the athlete and U.S cycling team stated in a press release,"due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.
Despite celebrity endorsements known to play a beneficial part in gaining awareness for a selected brand, challenges as well as further risks may arise. This is effective when controversy or ill-behaviour is associated with the selected celebrity, later forming a negative impact towards the endorsement and brand themselves.