Nah not really. But I somehow have made a connection between Tommy Bowe and Julia Roberts. Random I know.
Its to with a topic I have some pretty strong views on…..yes…. the use of celebrity. I only posted about it last month and when I re-read my post I thought…hmm now I am going to contradict myself.
from my experience and from a fundraising perspective I would tend to believe that they don’t add much. I don’t think people really give to charity because some A-lister says they should. In fact I think people are smarter than that. Having said that the lift it can give to a charity to have a celebrity endorse them, from a pure top of mind perspective, is huge. Look at what happened Help for Heroes after their support from the X-Factor single 3 years ago.
For me I think the real value in celebrity support is understanding what the objective of the support is to be. And that the relationship is cause driven (not new album/book/tour driven).
Well I am not really. I am probably re-stating my belief that if the support is genuine and real, then it works. If everyone involved understands the why, then it will work. If it’s not patronising, it will work.
I was emailed this week by Nigel in Simply Zesty asking me to talk about Bothars Golf with the Stars. I tend not to talk about that kind of stuff, but what interested me was they were pushing Tommy Bowe as the big talking point (he plays rugby for Ireland if you didn’t know). So, being the cynic I am, I asked Nigel to tell me more about the Tommy Bowe connection. To see if it was real.
Turns out it is
In 2006 Tommy was approached by the Bóthar CEO and a board member and was asked if he had time to meet with them. They then gave Tommy a presentation on the work that Bóthar does and apparently the more that Tommy heard about the work Bóthar does, the more he wanted to come on board and help in anyway that he could.
Tommy does more than just lend his name though. And possibly this is a mark of the man. He has visited projects. He clearly wanted to understand the work Bothar does so he could really endorse it.(You can watch a video of him visiting projects here) He also gets his fellow rugby ‘stars’ involved with their fundraising.
According to the PR
Tommy’s association with Bothar has definitely increased brand awareness and Tommy is a great ambassador as he has seen first hand how Bothar, through donations from the general public, can lift families out of poverty.
I think this is a great example of Celebrity Working. It reminds me of (and this is my bizarre leap) Julia Roberts.
Yes Tommy Bowe and Julia Roberts are comparable.
Julia Roberts has been involved in Hole in the Wall for years. I imagine many people would see her support as typical celebrity endorsement. With pictures like this:
But it’s not. It is so much more than that.
I remember a friend of mine working there and he showed me a picture of the dining hall and he showed me Julia Roberts in the background. She was there for a week to volunteer. No celeb drama, she didn’t rock up for a day to “meet the kids”. She got stuck in and just called herself Julia. Half the kids didn’t even realise who she was!
So the difference is a genuine support and endorsement. Get celebrities genuinely supporting and then Celebrity will work. Pure endorsements get you a photo in the paper…maybe
PS I actually would hold this view strongly outside the non-profit sector….if its not believable that the celeb doesn’t really love your brand, use it, eat it, wear it, live it….then its not going to work . IMHO