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Abercrombie Begs The Situation To Stop Wearing Its Clothes

Another development from the wonderful world of product dis-placement: Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want its brand associated with Jersey Shore’s The Situation. From WSJ’s Speakeasy blog:

Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is offering to pay Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino not to wear its merchandise. The New Albany, Ohio company released a statement Tuesday evening titled “A Win-Win Situation,” in which it stated a “deep concern” over the association between Mr. Sorrentino and the brand. A&F offered up a “substantial payment” to Mr. Sorrentino “to wear an alternate brand.”

Ironic, certainly, given that “Abercrombie was apparently selling a T-shirt with the words ‘The Fitchuation’ on it last summer” (see Adweek). But not the first time a brand has used an anti-endorsement from The Situation in hopes that a double-negative is actually a positive (see Miracle Whip). And also not the first time the cast of Jersey Shore has been targeted by brands who want the opposite of product placement (see Coach sends Snooki a Gucci bag).

What a fabulous, hilarious new line of work: Make yourself famous for all the wrong reasons, and you can parlay your widespread unpopularity into a tidy income.

What is Miracle Whip Thinking?

Is the hope that most people don’t like Jersey Shore’s Pauly D, and since he doesn’t like Miracle Whip, maybe we will — just to be un-Pauly-D-like?

(Remember when Coach sent Snooki a Gucci bag, so she’d stop carrying around one of theirs? But that can’t be the explanation here. Hellmann’s would get a call really, really fast from Kraft lawyers if they created spoof Miracle Whip ad and ran it on TV.)

I saw some research back in January that suggests celebrity spokespeople don’t make ads more effective. While I have not seen research to support the following, I can’t imagine celebrity spokespeople from the cast of Jersey Shore are good for anyone’s brand.

(Thanks, Mark!)

Intel Hires As Director of Creative Innovation

Black Eyed Peas Shows Off Intel Employee Badge

The above isn’t a picture of Black Eyed Peas frontman unveiling a new Intel commercial in which he’s the spokesman. It’s a picture of Black Eyed Peas frontman showing off his new Intel employee badge. From the LA Times:

“The move to bring on as more than simply a spokesman follows in the footsteps of Polaroid, which appointed Lady Gaga its creative director in 2009…. has signed on for a multiyear contract with the company and will be hands-on with technology, Intel said.”

There are at least two reasons that TV spots built around celebrities generally don’t work. One, with a celebrity endorsement in the bag, advertisers get lazy. They don’t work as hard to make great commercials since they hope a recognizable face will magically move product for them. Two, they end up making commercials that are more about the celebrity’s brand than their own (see Snooki commercials for Paramount Farms pistachios). The celebrity, in effect, stars in a commercial about him or herself, and walks away with a healthy check but without, perhaps, a genuine interest in the sponsor’s brand.

Intel is doing something wholly different from overpaying a rock star to pretend for 30 seconds he or she cares about its brand. They’re letting him inform product development, which might result in better products — and which certainly will result in becoming an even more enthusiastic and vocal advocate for the brand and the products he’s helping to shape.

Celebrity Endorsement in Ads Mostly Ineffective

According to an Ace Metrix study of all nationally televised ads in the first 11 months of 2010 (summarized here in Ad Age), commercials featuring celebrity pitchmen and pitchwomen generally perform worse than non-celebrity commercials. While the average TV ad contributed to an 8% lift for the brand, celebrity spots (on average) hurt brands — affecting a negative lift of 1.4%.

Ad Age data on celebrity ads

What’s going on? Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll speculates that relevance and social recommendations have become more important than associations with fame.

“Today’s consumer is more likely to be influenced by someone in their social network than a weak celebrity connection. Today’s consumer is informed, time-compressed, and difficult to impress, and they are only influenced by ads that are relevant and provide information. They don’t want to have products pushed at them, even from a celebrity. In fact, the data show that relevance and information attributes were key missing ingredients from most celebrity ads.”

I wonder, too, if celebrity endorsements make it easier for agencies get lazy — so confident that the famous face will sell the product that they forget to make a brilliant commercial.

Related: Back in November ChasNote asked Would you want Snooki and Rod Blagojavich endorsing your brand? For those of you fence-sitters, here’s some data to help you decide. While Tiger Woods (-30% for Nike), Martha Stewart (-21% for Macy’s), Andie MacDowell (-21% for L’Oreal) and two dozen other celebrities fared worse for their sponsors than did Snooki and Blago, both hurt the Wonderful Pistachios brand. Snooki delivered negative lift of 15% and Blago brought it down by 12%. Go, Snooki!

Would You Want Snooki and Rod Blagojavich Endorsing Your Brand?

The last time Snooki appeared in the pages of ChasNote, there were allegations that Coach was sending her gift baskets with gear from its competitors in order to undo the unfortunate accident of badly-placed product placement.

Now it appears that the Jersey Shore star — as well as the convicted felon and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojavich, and Levi Johnson, the young man who added drama to Sarah Palin’s vice presidential campaign by impregnating her teen-aged and unmarried daughter Bristol — has found a legitimate sponsor: Pistachio grower Paramount Farms. None of the above sparks my hunger for a pistachio, let alone makes me want to seek out Paramount Farms over other brands.

Speaking of damaging your brand: I wonder if fellow endorsers Chad Ochocinco, Charlie Brown and his crew from Peanuts knew they’d be running in commercials alongside Snooki, Rod and Levi?

(More at 5 Blogs Before Lunch.)

Product Displacement: Luxury Brands Sending Their Competitors’ Gear to Unsavory Celebs

I’ll admit it. On Monday, while giving some agency friends a tour of the new Digg, I came across an article on Jersey Shore star Snooki and had to ask who she was. But now that she’s the central figure in suspected plot by luxury brands to get their purses out of her hands, I can’t get enough.

Snooki with Designer Bag

From the NY Observer:

“Here’s the deal: Remember how Snooki, drunk or sober, was never seen without that Coach bag dangling from the crook of her arm? Snooki and her Coach were as synonymous as The Situation and his six-pack. But then the winds of change started blowing on Jersey Shore. Every photograph of Guido-huntin’ Snooki showed her toting a new designer purse. Why the sudden disloyalty? Was she trading up? Was she vomiting into her purses and then randomly replacing them? The answer is much more intriguing.

“Allegedly, the anxious folks at these various luxury houses are all aggressively gifting our gal Snookums with free bags. No surprise, right? But here’s the shocker: They are not sending her their own bags. They are sending her each other’s bags! Competitors’ bags!

“Call it what you will — ‘preemptive product placement’? ‘unbranding’? — either way, it’s brilliant, and it makes total sense. As much as one might adore Miss Snickerdoodle, her ability to inspire dress-alikes among her fans is questionable. The bottom line? Nobody in fashion wants to co-brand with Snooki.”

(Thanks for the tip, NOTCOT!)