The Dangers of Attaching Your Brand to a Celebrity Spokesperson

The Dangers of Attaching Your Brand to a Celebrity Spokesperson

 Good Endorsements… Gone Bad

It takes years and patience to build a world-class brand with a huge following. But who has time for that these days? If you’re all out of good marketing ideas, you can just hire somebody famous to be the face of your brand!

Be sure to pick somebody who’s at the top of their game. Somebody with a zillion followers on Twitter or Instagram. Tiger Woods, maybe, or Lance Armstrong. Or Olympic champions – they’re a sure-fire bet, right?

Even better if they’re the feel-good story of the moment. South African amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius captured the hearts of millions by moving from Paralympic competition (where he’d won three consecutive gold medals) to competing in the 2012 London Olympics, the first double leg amputee to qualify for the biggest running competition in the world.

It was a great story, and Nike jumped on board with an ad campaign featuring several athletes with a voiceover that spoke of athletes’ bodies being their weapons. A print advertisement featuring Pistorius read “I am the bullet in the chamber.” The next year, in 2013, Pistorius was charged and later convicted of murdering his girlfriend with a 9MM pistol. Oh, the irony!

Nike has been bitten by celebrity endorsements before; past ads have featured Lance Armstrong (doping), Michael Vick (dogfighting), and Tiger Woods (caught cheating on his wife multiple times), and trust us, the list goes on from here.  

Nike Shoes

It doesn’t matter if you have the most wholesome product in the world – you can still fall prey to bad celebrity endorsements. The “Got Milk?” campaign (you know the one, famous people with cute milk mustaches over their lips) dropped R&B performer Chris Brown in 2009 after he pleaded guilty to violently assaulting his former girlfriend Rihanna. Not a good look for the moo.

One essential feature of celebrity brand endorsements is that they appear genuine. No one wants to see the marketing hacks making sausage behind the scenes. So if you find a celebrity willing to spontaneously declare her love for your brand online, take the time to teach them the basic skills of cut and paste.

Here’s the caption that went with model Naomi Campbell’s Instagram post showing off her new pair of Adidas: “Naomi, So nice to see you in good spirits!!! Could you put something like: Thanks to my friend @gary.aspden and all at adidas – loving these adidas 350 SPZL from the adidas Spezial range. ✊ @adidasoriginals.”  

Cut and paste fail, Naomi!

Lori Loughlin of Full House and Hallmark Channel fame and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli plead guilty to bribery charges in a widely- publicized college admissions scandal in 2019. Loughlin and Giannulli paid $500,000 to have their daughters gain admission to USC as members of the rowing team, a sport which neither girl had ever participated in.

Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade had a promising and lucrative career as an online influencer, working with brands Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, and Amazon. Most dropped her like a hot potato after the cheating scandal became public, even though her mother was the culprit. (Loughlin lost her Hallmark Channel gig as well.) It’s good to remember that celebrities also have families who can do bad all by themselves.

Finally, if your brand invests in sponsorship, please ask the celebrities connected with it to play along. Soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo of Team Portugal cost Coca-Cola about $4 billion in market value after a Euro 2020 tournament press conference. Coca-Cola had a sponsorship agreement with the Union of European Football Associations, and the league had placed two bottles of the soft drink prominently at the podium in front of Ronaldo in a classic product placement move. Unfortunately, Ronaldo believes in healthy living and a clean diet. He looked visibly distressed by the bottles, giving them the stink eye before moving them out of the camera frame and holding up a bottle of water. He held the water bottle up and said in Portuguese: [Drink] “Water!”

Coca-Cola’s share price dropped by 1.6% to $55.22 soon after the press conference. The market value went from $242 billion to $238 billion — an expensive lesson in how celebrity endorsements will always be, a double-edged sword.

The practice of celebrity endorsements will continue for brands, and most of the time, the relationship will evolve just fine. However, understand that people have a bad habit of behaving badly in inopportune times. If your brand is caught in the middle of a public relations disaster, it could get ugly.

You’ve been warned.

About Atlas Rose: Atlas Rose is a Christian led marketing leadership company focusing on bringing executive-level help to small and medium-sized businesses. By offering fractional CMO’s integrated with their client’s leadership team, they effectively impact the company culture and mission. The result is a predictable, measurable, and effective lead flow for just a fraction of what a full-time marketing department would cost.  They can be reached at or 762-533-5007.

Do You Need a Rebrand or Refresh?

Do You Need a Rebrand or Refresh?

Do You Need a Rebrand or Refresh?

t’s the go-to move for creative agencies; enticing clients to spend money. For many, it’s included in the very first pitch. Change the logo, change the website and redo everything. After all, it’s the easiest way to generate billable hours! But is it the right thing for your company?

A brand refresh can be as simple as updating your logo, adopting a new slogan, redesigning collateral materials, and a fresh coat of paint in the office. It may include new colors, but it’s primarily cosmetic and doesn’t change how you do business. 

However, a rebrand goes much deeper. It’s everything a brand refresh is and more. It means remodeling stores, revisiting mission and vision statements, and even leadership changes. The purpose is to more closely align with customers, avoid market confusion, and create a new personality. 

As an analogy, a brand refresh is makeup and a rebrand is plastic surgery.  With either, it’s a good idea to revisit your mission and vision. If there are any changes to be made, this is the time. 

When is a good time for a rebrand or refresh?

Sometimes a refresh is called for when the “look” becomes outdated and you want to be more in line with the times. It can be tricky because you want to create a brand seen as “current” but also not one that chases trends. Be careful to make changes in increments. Don’t leave any confusion that you are the same company customers have always done business with. In this example, you see how Pepsi has updated its logo over the years.  

Notice how they made a significant change in 1945 by adding the “wave” and red and blue colors. Since that time, (with exception of 1951-52) they have kept the image logo familiar with only small variations. In 1953, they dropped the “cola” in the name because customers were abbreviating the name anyway. They had achieved enough brand recognition where they had the luxury of simplifying the name.

Another great example is FedEx. In 1971 the name and logo were chosen to closely align the startup with the government. It conveyed trustworthiness, credibility, and the ability to reach far corners of the US. 

By 2000, the name had served its purpose and the company sought to distance itself from the negative association of the word “federal.”

Today, the FedEx logo is known for its brilliant use of negative space. If you look closely between letters E and X, you’ll spot a white arrow. The company says it stands for speed, accuracy, strive for perfection, and perseverance in achieving goals. 

Yet another more relatable example is from Atlas Rose’s client, Plus Delta. I am their fractional CMO. Previously known as PlusDelta 314, I suggested that they drop the ‘314’ from the name because it served little purpose. The owner had emotional ties to the name, but I pushed back. PlusDelta is a great name. It’s perfect for a company that consults on change management. The meaning of plus delta is ‘adding change.’ When I saw the URL was available, the decision became a no-brainer. The name is strong enough to stand on its own. There is no reason to keep 314 at this point. As marketers, we’re always looking for ways to make things simpler and faster to understand. 

Sometimes a deeper Rebrand is called for.

By 2019, the premium coffee market was red hot. Starbucks had proven that Americans were willing to pay $4 or more for a cup of joe. Competitor, Dunkin Donuts had a stronghold on the coffee to go market for years but were ceding new ground to the Seattle startup. 

Also around that time, Dunkin Donuts was evolving from the coffee and donut shop to specialty sandwiches, desserts, and other creative menu options. Soon, their business didn’t match their company name. They were more than “donuts” so a rebrand was in order. They are still working with franchisors to remodel 12,871 stores and change signage. For them, it’s an expensive, but necessary maneuver. 

Other reasons to rebrand exist too. 


For years, Old Spice was the brand of shaving cream and cologne your grandfather wore. The brand had outlived its customers and the market was shrinking. Proctor and Gamble knew to attract younger millennials, they needed to do something drastic. Beginning in 2010, they launched a massive campaign, including millions of dollars in advertising. The campaign was far-reaching and went way beyond a refresh. It included social media, new packaging, and even a new character spokesperson. Old Spice was now fun, entertaining, and masculine. It was a roaring success.

From this:

To this:                   

There can be bad reasons to rebrand too like if a new management team wants to make their mark or the company owner is just bored. Branden O’Neil, of Atlas Rose, CEO of Atlas Rose tells clients that change for the sake of change isn’t a good enough reason for a rebrand or refresh. If it still works, keep it! There are advantages of keeping familiar marks and crafting language that stands the test of time. Brand recognition is the biggest.

Is there anyone reading this that doesn’t recognize McDonald’s “golden arches?” Not likely. That’s exactly why McDonald’s will likely never move away from the likeness they’ve invested in since 1961.” 

Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson hasn’t changed their logo since its inception 130 years ago. Why? Because there hasn’t been a reason to.

I recommend getting some outside perspective before you make a major decision like a rebrand or refresh. Sometimes you’re too close to the brand to think about it objectively. Keep an open mind and listen to legitimate business reasons to make the strategy shift. If the reasons aren’t strong enough, keeping the status quo is the right decision. What isn’t acceptable is being hesitant or slow because you fear the work involved. Outsourcing this task along with a full strategy review can be the best effort and money you can spend.  

Change can be good. Or not. 


About Atlas Rose: Atlas Rose is a Christian led marketing leadership company focusing on bringing executive-level help to small and medium-sized businesses. By offering fractional CMO’s integrated with their client’s leadership team, they effectively impact the company culture and mission. The result is a predictable, measurable, and effective lead flow for just a fraction of what a full-time marketing department would cost.  They can be reached at or 762-5233-5007.


What Is A Real Deal CMO

What Is A Real Deal CMO

What Is a Real Deal CMO?

It seems like everyone’s an expert nowadays. Enter the era of the electronic resume (LinkedIn) and you can adjust your job titles at will. Of course, everyone is gunning for the job they want so stretching the truth is tempting to do. 

If you were really a marketing coordinator, maybe you self-label yourself as the “marketing manager.” 

If you were really a marketing manager, modifying your Linkedin profile to indicate “Marketing V.P.” really is about the same right? 

 Well, not even close. We in the biz call those people marketing imposters.

While little white lies on your computer screen don’t seem like a big deal, it could be a big problem for the business owner that hires talent ill-equipped for the job. 

So, if you need Chief Marketing Officer Level support for your growing company, who should you hire?

  • The former head of digital media for XYZ corp?
  • The social media marketing lead for the largest company in the industry?
  • The head of content creation and automation for North America?

Answer: none; Not because these wouldn’t be great additions to the team, it’s because they chose a different and specialized path to hone their marketing industry skills.

A true CMO is something entirely different.

A CMO is someone that loves strategy. They think differently and have a vision of how individual parts and tactics work together to achieve a goal. They’re highly intelligent and are up to any C-level decision. Expect them to be an extension of the CEO and maybe even assume that role someday. 

Here’s what they’re not

Every organization and marketing plan calls for tacticians. These are people skilled in a particular segment of marketing. It might be pay-per-click advertising, copywriting, or web development. A CMO can’t do these things for you – but they know people who can. For decades they have been developing relationships with the most effective vendors and people in the industry. 

A CMO understands their capabilities and knows what success looks like, but they haven’t spent thousands of hours invested in executing the finer details. They think on a higher level.

The CMO is a trusted member of the executive team and someone the CEO, CIO, and CFO lean on when making decisions. For a growing business looking to scale, it’s a critical skill set to have. 

But there is a catch. CMO’s can be expensive. 




When you include benefits, competitive CMO salaries soar to $312,040. Ouch.

Even if that’s a figure you can get comfortable with, you better hope you make the right hiring decision. If you get it wrong and onboard the wrong person, it’s very, very painful. You may not realize you made the wrong hire for a year or longer. If you have to terminate them, the consequences are horrific. 

  • Time lost. Your company could have grown
  • Competitors gained ground
  • Lost Salary 
  • Opportunity costs
  • Stress on your team
  • CEO embarrassment
  • And the list continues…

But is there a better way? There may be. 

You may be able to share a successful CMO with another company. The concept is called fractional executives and it is already well proven for CIOs, CFO’s and others. It’s now available for the marketing function of a business. You get the full benefit of an executive team member, for a fraction of the cost. It’s been gaining traction because there is much to gain for business owners and little to lose. 

Business owners and CEOs can interview a handful of CMO candidates and choose the one that they have the best rapport with and possesses relevant industry experience.

Need a CMO with industry experience in e-commerce, healthcare, outdoors, SAAS, or others? Chances are, there is someone out that that is perfect.   

One company in the space is Atlas Rose. They have CMO’s already on the payroll outsourced to clients. The company arms these strategic thinkers with the tools they need to be most effective. 

Using a CMO in this way takes most or all of the risks out of the hiring decision and because the salary is split with other companies, it’s affordable too, starting at just a few thousand dollars per month for most companies. In Atlas Roses’ program, they include a dedicated marketing manager that makes sure no day-to-day details fall through the cracks. 

Real deal CMO’s aren’t built overnight. Finding a great one to align yourself with could mean the difference between existing in mediocrity or excelling to be the top player in your industry.  

If you decide to go it alone, proceed with caution and look at those LinkedIn profiles with a critical eye. 



About Atlas Rose: Atlas Rose is a Christian led marketing leadership company focusing on bringing executive-level help to small and medium-sized businesses. By offering fractional CMO’s integrated with their client’s leadership team, they effectively impact the company culture and mission. The result is a predictable, measurable, and effective lead flow for just a fraction of what a full-time marketing department would cost.  They can be reached at or 762-5233-5007.


5 Companies to Admire and Why

5 Companies to Admire and Why

Entrepreneurs love building things. Their motivations go beyond the monetary rewards. We’re fortunate in America to have a society powered by capitalism and that’s created no shortage of business success stories.  

If you’re tasked with creating a great company, there are lessons to learn from those that have walked the path before you. At Atlas Rose, we’re not only a marketing leadership company, we’re keen marketing scientists that study why strategies and tactics work. In this exercise, we measured brand loyalty, customer experience, boldness, innovation, and brand consistency. Then we cited five company examples and what you can learn from them.

Brand loyalty

In a recent Experian surveyTesla scored number one in brand loyalty among auto manufacturers. A whopping 70.7% of Tesla owners went on to purchase another Tesla after they sold their first one. Even more surprising, 74.7% of households registered a second Tesla when they already owned one.

That’s impressive and also good for business. In a COVID stricken 2020, Tesla posted a 21.4% increase in sales, while every other auto manufacturer’s sales went down. 

Lesson: Strive to make raving fans. Delighted customers become brand ambassadors and become your marketing muscle. They purchase multiple times and tell their friends what a good decision they made. 

Customer Experience

There’s no better example of a company creating an experience than Disney. It started with the late Walt Disney. He was visionary, famous for not compromising on even the smallest of details. It’s why the property has Mickey Mouse branded manhole covers. He was laser-focused on making sure guests had a memorable time. A fresh popcorn scent is even dispersed on Main Street. His goal was to create an immersive experience that makes you feel like you are in another world.

Disney understood that there should be no customer interaction wasted. From hotel check-ins to riding shuttles, and even buying a refreshment, it is all infused with Disney magic. 

The passion has lasted long after Disney’s passing. Even today, all employees (called cast members) are taught on their very first day that their primary goal is to “create happiness.”  

Lesson: Don’t underestimate how customers FEEL when they do business with you. Every interaction matters. This includes people, processes, and technology. 


Dollar Shave Club earns the nod here. Most people first heard of the company through a brilliantly produced video that went viral. The irreverent and funny “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” video was responsible for more than 12,000 orders in the first 48 hours. To date, the video has 27,275,821 views. 

In 2011, the company was the first to apply a subscription business model to the shaving market. It’s a model that inspired others to try the same tactic in other industries like pet food, mattresses, and eyeglasses. As it turned out, the direct-to-consumer model worked for many overpriced items. 

The video’s perfect blend of humor, effective messaging and irreverence rattled industry giant, Gillette. 

The video was a resounding success and was the springboard for the sale of the company in 2016 to Unilever in a one billion dollar all-cash deal.

Lesson: Followers don’t get noticed. Take calculated risks. Weave it into your culture. 


There are few companies in history that are responsible for creating entire industries. It requires a founder’s vision and resources to execute. It goes beyond just filling a niche and giving customers what they want. 

These types of companies know what consumers want before they do. Take Henry Ford, for example. He is credited for creating the assembly line and had the vision to put an automobile in every driveway in America. He’s famous for the quote “If I would have asked what people wanted, they would have said faster horses.” In more modern times, Steve Jobs led one of the most innovative companies in history. His passion for functionality and style helped create Apple products that Americans touch nearly every day. While Apple certainly has competitors, it was first to market and is a big reason why Apple is the United States’ first 2 Trillion dollar company. 

Lesson: Don’t stop asking “why not?” Dreamers get rewarded if they can execute.  

Brand Consistency

Coca-Cola was originally invented in 1892 and the formula has remained very similar since. There was the “New Coke” concoction in 1985 that was a sweeter variety designed to compete with Pepsi. However, it was one of the most famous corporate missteps in history. Consumers hated it and the backlash was significant. It caused Coca-Cola to quickly add the old formula back on the shelves marketed as Coca-Cola Classic.

Now 129 years later, the company is still going strong and has sales worldwide. That red and white can with the distinctive font is iconic and is part of the very culture and heritage of the United States. 

Building on their success, the company now has over 500 drink brands from teas, bottled water, coffees, and juices. 

Lesson: Find where the “win” is and do more of that. Have a core product or service that carries the company. Build ancillary products and services around what people love.

New lessons from great companies are being taught every day. Our advice is to watch and learn to see what others are having success with. You just might be able to apply their strategies in your business and fast forward your success. 

About Atlas Rose: Atlas Rose is a Christian led marketing leadership company focusing on bringing executive-level help to small and medium-sized businesses. By offering fractional CMO’s integrated with their client’s leadership team, they effectively impact the company culture and mission. The result is a predictable, measurable, and effective lead flow for just a fraction of what a full-time marketing department would cost.  They can be reached at or 762-5233-5007.