Every new month at least, three celebrities sign on to endorse a new product or a new company. It is always questionable if they actually trust the brands they are flaunting or they do it for the money.
Mike Ezuronye for a long time was Airtels’ ambassador but was he really using an Airtel sim card? Remember that famous selfie where his phone network provider was visibly MTN. That was when his deal was still on with Airtel. He was shooting new commercials and promoting Airtel but maybe a simple selfie did more than all the commercials, it was a clear message of where his loyalty was.
Our Nollywood stars would represent any brand as long as they are getting paid, as it seems it has nothing to do with the image of the brand and what it represents, it is about the money and there is nothing wrong with the hustle but on the side of the brand do they actually want popularity or let’s say publicity, or they want increase in sales? Does an Actors’ representation on this part of the world necessarily mean more sales for the brands involved? Publicity and sales are two different things and while publicity can trigger sales, publicity does not always equal sales.
Personally speaking, will I ever think of buying a product simply because it was endorsed by a Nollywood star? Maybe, let’s discuss why.
Nigerians move with what they need and if a brand is marketing a product they need, they will purchase it without a celebrity’s face to it. The addition of a much talked about celebrity would only get it due publicity. One of the reasons Zaron is popular is because of its affiliation to Rita Dominic. Rita Dominic is well loved. She is one of my favourite people not even one of my favourite actresses but does it mean Zaron over Sleek because of Rita? Yes, it could be. Rita looks flawless in every Zaron poster and who does not want to look that flawless, people would only try and if Zaron does not look good on them they will move on.
What about celebrities endorsing food and drinks. When I am exhausted will I take Amstel Malta instead of Maltina just because Genevieve represents Amstel? That is debatable. As fans we love knowing what celebrities are buying but endorsements are just those- endorsements, it does not mean they actually trust what they are endorsing. When it comes to clothes celebrities are wearing, we would love those ones; we want to wear what they are wearing. We need the same kind of shoes or even bags and these items are totally different from what they are endorsing. We have an immediate eagerness to wear what they are wearing because we see how they look and we like it. When celebrities endorse restaurants, gala or drinks does that mean that we would run to that restaurant or start eating these things even when we do not like them? Nollywood is a business of who can get the endorsement deal even without any work put out in years and most of the endorsement deals do not make sense.
Dakore Akande says she uses Dettol Even tone, we don’t share her bathroom to confirm this but looking at her skin most people will purchase Dettol Even Tone, because there is a high demand for products that promise a clear skin in Nigeria. Ini Edo lost weight last year and even after praising good exercise and dieting, almost immediately, Slim Tea signed her on. The language changed and she endorsed them and then they got Annie Idibia on the team. Annie had shown no weight problem, even after childbirth she seemed to snapback so easily. Many people will trust Slim Tea just because we have seen Ini’s transformation and because we are in the age of “get slim or die trying”.
Endorsements are just endorsements, they are promotions of the products that could work or not, brands in Nigeria want publicity and not necessarily an increase in sales by aligning celebrities with their products. Stars don’t promote the products as much, they sometimes don’t really have an idea of what they are representing and when controversy strikes it is clear that it is about the publicity, because it is never addressed. They question now is, should we trust our stars after they have received money from brands to support their products? What do you think about this topic?