When we discuss product endorsements in my advertising classes my students usually ask about the process: how an endorser is chosen, how much do they get, when do they stop, etc. I tell them that everything depends on the advertiser / ad agency and the talent but it usually involves making sure that the potential endorser plays well to the target market.
Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, for example, endorse products aimed at teens because they appeal to the demographic. Regine Velasquez pitches for Wow Magic Sing because the ones supposed to buy those are songbird wannabes. On the other hand I do not know why Manny Pacquiao is endorsing the competing brand. Perhaps they wanted someone who can't sing that well because a bigger market identifies with it. Pacquiao endorsing Alaxan, though, is perfect. No one has more authority to talk about pain relievers than someone who gets beat up for a living.
Then there are mega endorsers like Judy Ann Santos, Aga Muhlach, and Kris Aquino, who can endorse pretty much anything and drive up sales. And while their initial popularity was what made them good endorsers, one can't help wondering if their subsequent endorsement deals were due to the fact that they became more ubiquitous on ads and billboards.
Which is what the politicians are banking on when they become product endorsers. Yesterday's Inquirer editorial and Conrad de Quiros's column tackle the issue and say that while it may be legal, it definitely is unethical.
And not just from a "flaunting of election law" perspective. It's unethical for advertising agencies to approve such endorsers or recommend them to clients when they clearly don't play well to the target market. Mariel Rodriguez endorsing beauty products fits with the public image of her (as a pretty person) but Ping Lacson? C'mon.
And why the heck would Mar Roxas (the talking, dancing surfboard) be even considered for a detergent commercial? I rolled my eyes when Sharon or Winnie Monsod endorsed detergent (Seriously, when was the last time they washed their own clothes?), I almost glimpsed my brain when I saw the Tide ad.
In the political ad panel I wrote about a few weeks back Yoly Ong of Campaigns and Grey was asked regarding the process of choosing product endorsers from among politicians. She said that for her firm she makes sure the person appeals to the target, implying that other image handlers may not be as honest with their clients as she.
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Today Manny Villar is proposing to censor sexy billboards, saying they lead to accidents and prurient thoughts. Screw that. Believe me, I'd take Maja Salvador half naked over Bayani Fernando's mug anytime. Heck I'd take Ding Dong's ding dong over any of those other dicks.