When it's right to use a celebrity in advertising

Who better to tell you to lay off the fatty foods than Jonny Vegas? Who better to recommend cutting down on booze than Gaza? We might listen to them when, in many cases, we would be deaf to a public information message.

Celebrity and advertising go hand in hand. You know you’ve made it as a celeb when you front the latest denim, makeup, drinks or erm, frozen foods range.

Yet, celebrity endorsed advertising has often been suggested as a sign that the creative team just can’t think of a good idea. But there is a time and a place for celebrity in advertising, and, following a recent campaign by Newhaven for the Scottish Government, featuring Gary Newman (of ‘Cars’ fame), we suggest that it is in social marketing.

Who better to tell you to lay off the fatty foods than Jonny Vegas? Who better to recommend cutting down on booze than Gaza? We might listen to them when, in many cases, we would be deaf to the public information message distributed by a stuffy government. With that in mind, we asked a host of teams to create social marketing campaigns featuring a well-known celebrity. The results are as follows:


We have used Catherine Tate’s Lauren character because she epitomises an apathy in today’s youth that results in far too many unwanted pregnancies/sexually transmitted infections. She is a character that kids can relate to, without the feeling they are being patronised. Her catchphrase brilliantly sums up the problem we are facing. ‘Am I bovvered’ adds some humour to what is a very prescriptive message.


OK, hoax calling might be funny, but hoax 999 calls sure aren’t. Cue Fonejacker – E4’s comedy dialler. Except this time, he’s demonstrating the consequences of hoax 999 calls, as we see him make his final call – from prison.


This whole ad is based on the idea that NHS Direct deliver an honest, open assessment of their service and that this openness positions them as an accountable public service. Yes they get it wrong 1% of the time but they’re only human. And Conrad Murray is a doctor who very recently got it wrong…allegedly!


Following her slurry outburst on GMTV, this is Kerry Katona’s chance to endorse the importance of clarity in language. The fit with the Plain English Campaign not only makes perfect sense but will help give the organisation cutthrough among 12 – 16 yr old cider-swigging-sports apparel-wearing-truants.


“Car sharing” started Adam.

“I fucking hate celebrities” replied Tony.

“We could just take the piss?” Adam suggested.

“Yeah, I fucking hate celebrities” replied Tony.

“Ok, name two that go well together?” asked Adam.

“French & Fry” tittered fat Tony.

“Another pint?” tittered not so fat Adam.

06 WAA

With Timmy Mallet synonymous with bashing children over the head on early morning kids’ TV, it seemed quite fitting that he should be against child abuse. Great ambassador for the NSPCC.


“As fires in Scotland increase, the biggest cause of fatal casualties is being overcome by gas or smoke. Over a third of dwellings fires are in homes without a smoke detector and also a significant % where a faulty fire alarm was present. In this campaign, icons tell the viewer what to do, whilst the ‘well-kent’ face resonates with the audience.

08 WAA

Playing on the fact that his ‘X-Men’ Superhero character, Wolverine, has 3 giant blades in both of his fists that he can use as and when he feels the need. And there you have your irony, ladies and gentlemen...

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