Celebrity Marketing and Negotiations: Phase Three


Contracts and negotiations ensure that both parties agree to and abide by the same set of terms throughout the deal.

Once the ideal celebrity candidate has been chosen and agreed upon in Phase Two, the third step of the Burns Method involves contracts and negotiations. This phase includes drafting the contract, making an offer to the celebrity and negotiating the contract until both parties agree on a final version. This step makes certain that all terms of the deal align with each party, and there is no confusion about what the deal entails.

The first step of the contract and negotiations phase involves drafting an offer. In this phase, marketers work with their agencies and legal teams to draft a well-balanced agreement that is fair, but does not venture too far from the originally discussed scope of work from Phase One. The first version of the agreement should be generated based on the original deal points, and should not put all the cards on the table in order to create leverage during the negotiation process. The agreement should also include added value opportunities that expand relationships and minimize cost, including a pre-negotiated option term, additional usages, territories and media opportunities, charitable tie-ins, sponsorship opportunities and internal requests such as shout-out videos, autographs and memorabilia.

Once the first version of the agreement has been finalized, it must be sent to legal counsel for review. Upon approval, the paperwork can be shared with the appropriate talent parties. Up to this point, the potential celebrity’s agent, manager or publicist should be aware of the project. Regardless, the first proposed offer almost always results in a counter-offer from the talent. Because of this, it is important to know your budget parameters. Making a first offer can be intimidating, but always go in low without being offensive.

After the formal offer has been made and countered, the new agreement will be reviewed and the negotiation process will begin. At this point, the marketers and their associated legal and agency teams can accept changes where agreeable and push back on terms that are not. The new version is then sent back to the talent, and this process continues until a final version is agreed upon by both parties. It often takes multiple rounds of negotiations to reach this point, but all deals vary and timing can be difficult to determine.

Although completion of the contract and negotiations seems like the final step, a marketer’s job does not end once the contract is signed. In many ways, it is only the beginning. Although the terms of the contract have been finalized, the execution must be monitored closely, which moves us into the fourth phase of the celebrity marketing and negotiation process: execution and management.

Photo credit: Flickr.com

Why Brands Should Use Twitch for Influencer Marketing


One of the most up-and-coming websites is ripe for brands to seize competitive advantage.

Twitch is a video streaming platform where users can broadcast their gaming to the world, and is currently fourth in U.S. internet traffic, only trailing Netflix, Google and Apple. It has been a blossoming site since its launch in 2011, so much so that Amazon spent almost a billion dollars to acquire it in 2014. With 9.7 million active daily users and over 2 million unique streamers per month, there is no denying the reach Twitch has as a social network platform. Twitch has a huge growing audience and brands should take advantage of it, especially if they are looking to market to gamers and millennials.  It is interactive, uncut, live, and genuine, something that millennials crave from influencers.

One of the most straightforward ways brands can utilize is to hire a gamer for a sponsored stream. There are plenty of celebrities on Twitch from actors to athletes.  Twitch also has plenty of “Twitch famous” gamers with vast and loyal followings.  Gamers love the concept of playing a video game with one of their favorite celebrities. When sponsoring a gamer on Twitch, brands can broaden their audience because they are reaching the gaming community as well as the celebrity’s audience.

Another way to sponsor a stream is to have your brand logo on the stream and in the stream’s title. This option is a great opportunity for product placement in the gamer’s camera throughout the stream.  For example, Jack Link’s sponsored three gamers known to have lively outburst, so it aligned well with their “hangry” campaign. Also, a brand could create a special tag associated with the brand or product that would pop up when certain achievements or frustrating fails occur, such as sponsoring a big play in a game.

E-Sports are also a unique sponsorship opportunity for brands. E-Sports is like a professional league of tournaments for gamers, and has really taken off in recent years.  Brands can take advantage of the large viewership of this new phenomenon by sponsoring these big tournaments.  Twitch hosts these live tournaments on their site where people can watch and play, so brands can get online advertising as well as brand integration and real life advertising at the event.  For example, Totino’s hosted a Call of Duty tournament that averaged 30,000 live viewers and handed out pizza rolls to the fans at the tournament.

With Twitch, there are many opportunities for brands to sponsor celebrities, streams and tournaments in the gaming world. This unique streaming site allows for brands to reach a new audience, specifically male gaming millennials. Twitch is also currently working to expand their user demographic, branching out from gaming to include cooking, painting, beauty tutorials and more. This allows for a variety of opportunities for brands to take advantage of this growing platform and reach millennials in a new and exciting way with influencer marketing.

Photo credit: Flickr.com

Celebrity Marketing and Negotiations: Phase Two


Conducting extensive research determines your campaign’s fate.

Upon completion of Phase One, the second step of the Burns Method involves conducting research on potential celebrity spokespeople and creating a list of recommendations that fit the brand. Through channels such as the Burns Celebrity Vault, E-Poll Market Research, general industry expertise and more, we are able to generate all the best candidates in addition to identifying those who may not be the best overall fit.

The first component of the research phase involves identifying a number of potential celebrity candidates based on factors related to the campaign. Some factors considered during this step would be:

  1. What is the creative messaging of the campaign?
  2. Who would fit within the specifications?
  3. Who is the brand’s ideal celebrity candidate?
  4. What criteria is the brand looking for in a celebrity?
  5. Who does the target audience relate to?

The second step of the research phase is eliminating celebrities that would not fit based on a variety of factors. Using insider industry knowledge, the Burns Celebrity Vault, E-Poll market research, social media numbers and more, we are able to analyze the potential celebrities and narrow the list. During this step we consider things such as:

  1. Any conflicts with the potential date of execution?
  2. An existing or recent partnership with a competitive product?
  3. Is the talent’s team difficult to work with?
  4. Could the product be controversial in nature, therefore unappealing to the talent?

Once the list of potential celebrity candidates has been analyzed, the client is provided with a list of detailed recommendations on appropriate talent for the campaign. The list may be as little as a few candidates or as high as 100, based upon the client’s needs. Within each group, we highly recommend one to three candidates. Information provided can include talent biographies, upcoming projects, knowledge of the talent’s staff, talent’s likes and dislikes, travel requirements, scheduling conflicts and charitable ties. The client and agencies will also be made aware of all cross promotion opportunities such as tours, albums, new shows, movies, product placement and more.

After the client has received our list of recommendations, it is up to them to choose the right celebrity partner. Some factors to consider would be:

  1. Is the celebrity believable?
  2. Is he / she overexposed?
  3. Will this celebrity achieve the key objectives?
  4. Will their “celebrity” overshadow the brand?
  5. Can the celebrity provide added value?

The research and recommendation phase is important to make sure all potential options are considered, and that every celebrity is evaluated for any potential conflict. Once we have come up with a list of celebrity candidates, the client can choose the right fit and we can move on to the third phase of the celebrity marketing and negotiation process: contracting and negotiations.

photo credit:flickr.com



Innovative Celebrity Marketing Uses of Athletes during the Olympics


How Brands Cut Through the Clutter, and Made Their Olympic Spots Pop in the 2016 Rio Games

Nike and Under Armour posted and sponsored content leading up to and during the Olympics that caught the audience’s attention and created excitement. Using relatable story-telling, captivating visuals and utilizing non-Olympic athletes made their ads shine during the Rio Games.

Nike has always been known for their visual story-telling and airing their advertising at the most opportune time to pull on the audiences emotions.  This year in Rio was no different for Nike when they aired and posted origin stories of some of their top athletes.  The best example of this is a spot featuring Simone Biles, the star of the United States Women’s gymnastics team.  The video was thoughtfully planned out before the games showing Simone training for Rio and clips from her younger days, while her mother spoke about Simone’s journey to gymnastics greatness.

Nike got one of the most popular artists right now Chance The Rapper to write a song and star in a USA Basketball promotion.  The lyrics are inspiring, incorporating the U.S. National Anthem and Constitution, along with delivering a message of togetherness and unity, not only as a basketball team but as a country.  The video displays all of Nike’s basketball athletes, and projects them on houses and buildings in a city.  This visual really gives you a sense of “home” while pulling on the audience’s patriotism, especially when it airs and is posted right after Team USA just won gold in basketball.

Nike also highlighted their athletes on social media with short pre-recorded GIF’s, posting them to twitter while the athletes were competing.  These short videos were very aesthetically appealing to the eye, and featured Nike’s famous tagline, Just Do It.  These visuals were great at standing out on crowded social media news feed, and generating buzz because you were currently seeing the athlete on TV.

Under Armour (UA) had to think outside the box to create social media content due to the new IOC’s Rule 40.  One way they accomplished this was UA basketball star Steph Curry tweeting about fellow UA team member Michael Phelps on twitter to his 6.7 million followers.  He tweeted out emoji’s representing Phelps dominance in the pool with the Phelps Olympic hype video, and UA’s notable tagline “IWILL” which gained a lot of social traction.

Another innovative way Under Armour created content was with Anthony Joshua, a boxer on their team of athletes.  Joshua, current professional heavyweight, won the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, and was in Rio as a spectator at this Olympics.  UA live streamed an Anthony Joshua beach workout on their Facebook page, along with live posting his workout on their Snapchat story.  They kept the Olympic theme as he was in Brazil and used Rio Snapchat geo-filters without any copyright infringement, as well as echoing their message of discipline and fitness.

Photo Credit: photopin.com

Celebrity Marketing and Negotiations: Phase One


Before finding a celebrity for your brand, it is crucial to pre-plan and discuss exactly what the campaign is, what you want it to accomplish and who you are trying to reach.

When it comes to celebrity marketing and negotiations, Burns Entertainment has developed a proven approach to guide marketers through a practice that can often be difficult and erratic. The “Burns Method” is a four-step process that creates structure among the chaos. The first of the four phases is pre-planning. Marketers must establish realistic expectations across all brand partners and/or multi-agency platforms. As the key objectives of a celebrity partnership are determined, it should be a top priority for all strategic partners to have a seat at the table.

A key component of the pre-planning phase is for brand partners to communicate all relevant information about the campaign.

Five key questions to think about when pre-planning celebrity marketing would be:

  1. What does the campaign program entail? Is the celebrity going to use networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your brand? Is the campaign going to be on television, print or digital? Are there going to be events that involve your celebrity?
  1. What is the campaign creative / messaging?
  1. Who is your target demographic?
  1. Who is the “ideal” celebrity partner and why?
  1. What is the main objective? Are you looking to drive sales? Create brand awareness? Re-brand?

It’s also imperative during this phase to clearly identify the key objectives of the campaign. There should be no confusion as to what is expected from all parties to meet the key objectives. The campaign must be successful as a whole, not just via one avenue only. Some things to think about are:

  1. Is this a new product launch or an existing product?
  1. How long will the campaign live?
  1. Where will the campaign live? Is there potential for other markets to pick up the campaign after its initial launch?
  1. How many days of work will be required from the talent? Where and when? Any social media asks? Will any interviews take place?
  1. Through what mediums will the campaign be executed (TV, radio, digital, print)?
  1. Will it require product exclusivity?

The final thing to consider during the pre-planning phase is the budget and timeline. Putting a set timeline and budget at the beginning of phase one will allow all parties to manage their portion of the celebrity negotiations to the best of their ability. It’s important to be aware that there are associated costs when celebrity talent is involved, including but not limited to hair stylists, travel and wardrobe. Accounting for these costs and having a set timetable will streamline negotiations in the most efficient way possible.

Although the pre-planning process is important in order to fully understand the campaign, it’s also important to have a Plan B. Sometimes the “ideal” celebrity is not the right fit for a campaign, or there is not an organic partnership between the brand and the celebrity. It is very important to have an objective point of view when moving into the second phase of the celebrity marketing and negotiation process.

photo credit: Photopin.com

Resources for Selecting a Celebrity: Part One


The Burns Celebrity Vault is a one-of-a-kind resource that makes the celebrity selection process simpler, easier and more efficient.

When it comes to picking a celebrity for a marketing campaign, the process is not simple. When finding the right celebrity match, a brand must take into consideration things such as cost, celebrity interest, conflicts and many other factors. In order to find the right celebrity, you need a resource that takes all these factors into consideration, and still provides great celebrity options. That’s where the Celebrity Vault comes in. The Celebrity Vault is a state-of-the-art database that has accumulated information on over 25,000 different celebrities from all ends of the spectrum for over 40 years, which makes for a much easier, faster and better celebrity selection process.

The Celebrity Vault contains celebrities from sports, entertainment, music and more. In this case, a “celebrity” is not just the people you always see or immediately think of, but rather anyone who is well-known or has consistently been in the news. This wide definition of a celebrity allows you to find any type of celebrity you could possibly need or want, not just the most obvious ones. Celebrities are then segmented by type such as actors, athletes, age and gender. The exceptional variety of celebrities in the Celebrity Vault means there are plenty of celebrity options for any campaign or budget.

Celebrities are then further categorized by over 700 lifestyle demographics. These demographics can include any type of interesting fact about a celebrity, not just the information you know off-hand. The Celebrity Vault includes the information you would typically ignore, forget or be unaware of, like whether a celebrity collects classic cars, had colon cancer or owns dogs. Whether it is interests, hobbies, charitable ties or health conditions, these lifestyle demographics allow for a much faster and better selection process.

The Celebrity Vault also includes the likely costs of celebrities for TV appearances, speaking engagements and other endorsement opportunities, which allows you to find celebrity options within your budget. No matter your budget, you will likely be able to find a pool of realistic celebrities for your campaign.

The Celebrity Vault is extremely helpful for brand marketers because it can help find a celebrity for even the most narrowly-defined marketing strategies. It makes the process quicker, easier and better for finding the perfect celebrity match for a brand. The wide variety of celebrity options, segmented by over 700 lifestyle demographics, makes sure not to overlook your options when finding the right celebrity.

Why Brands Should Take Celebrity Marketing to Virtual Reality

24662092641_2befeb5cda_b (1)

Virtual reality is a must-have for those serious about the next wave of digital video.

Virtual reality (VR) puts fans and audiences at the center of the experience, allowing for more engaging and exciting content. From a brand perspective, VR creates many new opportunities to connect with their audience, play into public interest and pull more attention to their message. Brands ready to get on board with this new trend can do so with celebrity marketing.

VR is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that allows the user to immerse him or herself into a visual world and interact within the environment. With new innovations such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard headsets and YouTube 360 degree video, virtual reality allows for immersive, digital storytelling that was not possible only a few years ago. There are many different possibilities for virtual reality, and brands have only just begun to take advantage of it.

Augmented and virtual reality is a big trend, gaining a significant amount of media and public attention. Anything having to do with VR seems to get favorable attention, including apps and YouTube videos. YouTube celebrities such as Casey Neistat and Louis Cole have taken advantage of the trend with 360 degree videos at events like the Oscars and places like Sierra Leone, Africa. Even YouTube itself has started live streaming events in 360. Apps such as Pokémon Go have taken the world by storm, earning up to $1.6 million daily. People who have been quick to jump on the trend have seen many favorable results.

A few brands have jumped on the trend as well, looking to the immersive experience as a way to attract attention and create meaningful experiences. The New York Times took advantage of virtual reality by sending over one million Google cardboard headsets to subscribers, and is now working with advertisers to create content to work alongside The Times’ VR videos. Etihad Airways has worked with Nicole Kidman to create a virtual reality experience for anyone on board Etihad’s A380. Both of these brands are creating unique experiences for their customers, and connecting with them in a way that is innovative and unique.

Entertainment and marketing are two natural fits for virtual reality, which makes celebrity marketing perfect for this new trend. A celebrity has the ability to deliver a message uniquely, creating attention and recognition that cuts through the clutter consumers deal with on a daily basis. We will likely start to see brands giving audiences a front-row seat to a Beyoncé concert or the Super Bowl through virtual reality, but the opportunities don’t have to end there. There are many possibilities with virtual reality, and it is a must-have for brands looking to tap into something new and innovative.

Photo credit: Photopin.com