High Five

Perfect Celebrity Endorsements

This post was originally published in Little Black Book

Celebrity endorsement can be traced to 1750 when Josiah Wedgewood used Royal endorsements as a branding mechanism to sell fine china dinnerware. Today, it's become one of the most overused tropes in our industry; 70% of commercials in Super Bowl LVII used a celebrity, with many spots using multiple. More often than not, the use of celebrity is pure borrowed interest. The celebrity isn't central to the brand or idea, rather they function as an attention-grabbing prop, and almost any celebrity could be swapped into the commercial. But there are some wonderful exceptions. Exceptions where the celebrity is the brand's kindred spirit, and where their DNA feels so inextricably linked to the brand purpose that you can't imagine anyone else playing the role. That's when the use of celebrity moves from a slightly desperate attention-grabbing device to an unforgettably smart brand statement...

Allstate – ‘Mayhem Is Your Cat’

Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
'Mayhem' is a great idea, but I don't think it would still be running 13 years after its debut without Dean Winters. This was A+ casting. He is the embodiment of mayhem – a mischief-maker, yet loveable. His comedic timing is brilliant, and this is the perfect portrayal of a cat.

Nike – ‘Dream Crazy’

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Production: Park Pictures

I don't even need to show the spot, I can show the tweet. Few big, global brands have the courage to stick their neck out on social issues. And then there is Nike (take note, Bud Light). Few people can say "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything" with as much impact as Colin Kaepernick.

Ugg – ‘Do Nothing Drone’

Agency: Camp + King
Production: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Jeff Low
Sound: One Union Recording Studio

This campaign, for me, is in the top three things we've done at Camp + King. Jeff Bridges showing us how to 'do nothing' in Ugg's premium house slippers. Is there a more credible person to deliver this message than 'The Dude'?

JBL x Doja Cat – ‘Jibble Jibble Jibble’

What could have easily been just another #ad became social gold when JBL rolled with Doja Cat, calling them 'jibble jibble jibble' as part of their 2022 Grammy's partnership (she wore the speaker on the red carpet too). It was as real as these things get, and it went viral, spawning this great duet.

Dunkin’ – ‘Dunkin’ Drive-Thru’

Agency: Anomaly x Artists Equity

Talk about overlapping DNA, it doesn't get more inextricably linked than Dunkin' + Affleck. Maybe Damon or Wahlberg could have pulled this off, but add a celebrity cameo from J-Lo, and this elevated to gold.

Jamie started as a strategist over twenty years ago. His work has won numerous awards, including Effie Awards for advertising effectiveness, and he’s been featured in Crain’s “40 under 40.” Jamie is originally from Chicago and, as such, enjoys being asked, “How about those Cubbies?”