Some companies are turning to celebrity endorsements as a way to increase awareness of their brand. They hope that by connecting their company to the face of a celebrity, they will get the fans of that particular celebrity to purchase their products or services.

Having a celebrity endorsement can be beneficial to some, but there are risks involved with such associations.

You’ll have to spend lots of money

Having a celebrity endorser is going to be expensive, and without a large marketing budget, you may have trouble paying for it. Also, will you actually get a decent return on your investment? If you’re going to dish out $100,000 and see only $20,000 return on sales, is it worth it?

You could choose the wrong celebrity

A celebrity endorser is no guarantee that your business will see a jump in sales or become more well known. You need to choose a celebrity who relates to your business in some way. For example, if your company is involved with animal rights, you won’t want a celebrity who has been photographed wearing fur or using other animal products to endorse your products. That would not be good for business!

It’s also possible that fans of such a celebrity will not use your products, and you could be trying to reach the wrong target audience. Choosing Taylor Swift to reach elderly women or choosing Rod Stewart to reach young men isn’t smart marketing. And, since hiring a celebrity endorser is expensive, you could find yourself out of pocket for a very large sum of money without any results to show for it.

What if your celebrity is involved in a scandal

Celebrities are just glorified ordinary people, and people, regardless of how big they are, make mistakes, some make very large mistakes. For example, Hertz had OJ Simpson endorse their products during his alleged murder of Nicole Brown. Their brand and reputation could have been in jeopardy because of the association with Simpson.

Since celebrities are only human, there’s no way of knowing if they’re going to be involved in some type of scandal that can harm your business. For instance, if your celebrity is involved in a DUI (Lindsay Lohan), gets caught for shoplifting (Winona Ryder) or is overhead making racist or anti-Semitic rants (Mel Gibson), it could damage your brand.

Unforeseen circumstances could harm your celebrity endorsement

What happens if your celebrity has a very messy and public divorce, could this impact your brand? Celebrities have personal lives, and their personal lives are far more public than we “common folk” are used to. If your company’s celebrity endorser is caught in some scandal or suffers a trauma that goes public, your brand and their endorsement of it could be pushed aside while they deal with their situations.

So before you run out to hire a celebrity endorser, make sure you understand fully all of the risks involved. Choosing the right celebrity can be difficult, plus extremely expensive. And there’s always the possibility of a scandal that could put your business in a very bad light.

Prepared by Jessica Lowenthal from Cloverleaf Brand Management Services