The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Celebratory Disendorsment …
December 9, 2009, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I work in the ‘celebratory endorsement’ capital of the World.

Almost every possible brand in almost every possible category is endorsed by someone or other.

In Japan you get uber-stars selling their soul for any 2-bit brand that has offered to buy them a new house in Beverly Hills whereas in other parts of the region, you see a bunch of people who have seemingly become ‘stars’ simply through the number of products they endorse.

Infact I am convinced MEDIACORP – Singapore’s main media organisation – makes more money flogging their x-grade ‘stars’ to brands than they do from content creation.

From noodles to keep fit machines, you can be sure the ads will feature some pretty Asian face with the words “MEDIACORP STAR” emblazoned underneath their name – even though you haven’t got the faintest idea who they are or what they’ve done.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they got the ‘stars’ to ‘do’ something interesting/different/humouress – but no – 99% of the time they just show them using the product in the belief that is enough to get the general public to rush out and buy the product in their bucketloads.

Sadly it often is …

Of course endorsement is nothing new … and not just limited to the ‘East’ … however whilst I appreciate it can attain ‘cut through’ and can heighten ‘brand cache’, the communication often focuses more on the ‘star’ than the brand which leads to the possibility that when the endorser goes [probably to a competitor] so can the audience – especially if it’s in a fickle category like kids products.

Anyway the reason I am writing all this is because I recently came across this …


Yes, it’s Mr Handsome endorsing Nespresso.

Now putting aside the fact ‘Nespresso’ is possibly one of the worst brand names since ‘Darkie’ Toothpaste, do you really think George ‘multi-millionaire playboy’ Clooney really drinks Nespresso?

Do we believe he goes to his house in Lake Como – a house that resides in the country that prays at the Church of Coffee – and shoves a Nespresso pod into his Nespresso machine and then sits back and enjoys a cup of black gold from the same company that churns out Nescafe Gold Blend in the local supermarket?

Of course if you think he does, then my argument is shot nearly as much as your – and George’s – credibility … but is it really possible Mr & Mrs Bland feel that by simply purchasing a plastic coffee maker and drinking plastic coffee, they are ‘sharing’ a lifestyle similar to Gorgeous George’s?

Oh god, how totally and utterly depressing.

If this is indeed the case, then the only redeeming factor to this shit is that Nespresso are claiming that without their coffee, George Clooney is ‘ordinary’.

If ordinary is being an international film star with a bevy of beautiful women, stunning houses and a shitload of cash in the bank – then where do I sign up – however call me crazy, but I think this is another example of yet more marketing ego and/or unfunny corporate humour which – if there’s any luck/justice in the World – will make people realise the overall premise of Clooney choosing to use this machine [rather than being paid to use it] is so ridiculous that it’s bordering on offensive so the masses will turn their back on it rather than opening their wallets.

And while I’m on a rant role, can I tell you how much I hate ads that end with a question like WHAT ELSE? or WHY NOT?


Maybe it’s just me, but when I see something like that, all my cynical side comes to the fore which is why my first reaction when I saw that line on that Nespresso ad was:


I tell you something weird though – somehow Clooney still comes across as cool and credible – which is quite amazing even though it’s probably driven by his self depreciating and honest persona and the fact he has publically admitted he only really does ‘blockbusters’ so it can pay for his more personal and interesting projects.

So there you have it, George Clooney is the Robin Hood of celebratory endorsement, so what’s your excuse Tommy Lee Jones?

33 Comments so far
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I thought the same thing about Mediacorp when I lived in Singapore so it’s reassuring to know they’re still handing out “stars” in their bucketload. 🙂

The George Clooney ad is kind of disturbing. I’m not sure he gets away with it, maybe he does based on the credibility points banked from the past, but I bet the nespresso people are a nightmare, smug, self important and walking around acting like Clooney is a fan of their work and I don’t just mean their product.

To be fair to the nespresso guys, Clooney is a pretty cool character but what would make anyone choose to use Tommy Lee Jones, the most miserable actor in Hollywood?

After Monday’s “bump” you’re back on fire Robert. 🙂

Comment by Pete

Stop using smiley Pete. You look gay. Like Clooney does in those coffee ads.

Tommy looks hard. Cool. The end.

Comment by Billy Whizz

look at billy being all fucking planner like.

would write a genius comment but got a plane to catch. watch out scotland im coming to fucking get you.

Comment by andy@cynic

You should see the tv ads.

Comment by John

There was a megabanner in Berlin with this fucking ad. Thought the same thing. Utter gash.

Comment by Will

Thank you Pete and Will for getting things back on topic after Billy and Andy’s yobbish behaviour. [Though the smiley things are horrible, well said Billy]

Comment by Rob

Athletes endorsing cars are king of the “they wouldn’t use it if their lives depended on it” category.

Tiger Woods and Buick
Cristiano Ronaldo and Suzuki
Wayne Gretzky Chrysler

I am sure there’re more I can’t think of right now that are just as wrong. But you can’t really blame the celebrities for playing along (most times).

I know there was a case in Japan where a major Hollywood celeb was suing one of the bigger agencies because the commercial had leaked outside the country. So you’d think they ARE ashamed about doing it. They just can refuse all the money being thrown at them.

Comment by rafik

Two words Robert: Buster Bloodvessel.

Comment by Lee Hill

Poor excuse for a spot-the-difference.

I don’t think it’s his own hand either.

Comment by Chris

Amazing in this world of 247 online worldwide blah blah blah etc etc that they think they can hide these ads from the rest of the world.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

i used to think george clooney was hot. then he started promoting that vile black sludge crap and now i hate them both. huzzah!

and, well, all i can smell when i see the TLJ is a smelly warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse withing a 15mile radius. So perhaps it’s a strange, but worthy link for the reason why you’d need to use BOSS. But the yumminess of HB fragrances is attraction enough, so I still don’t really get the TLJ thang.

Comment by lauren

I think he actually owns part of the company…

And that kinda changes the goal posts a little.

Comment by threebillion

awesome that there is boss coffee. i only knew boss cigarettes from bosnia (and around there). and that hugo boss sued them in austria… anyway, boss coffee in cans is way cooler than ed hardy’s energy drink. even though boss got a rainbow flag printed on their can. or maybe i am just grateful they didnt hire bruce springsteen.

i was quite shocked to see clooney in the spots. but i still like him. not sure the image transfer worked though.

Comment by peggy

Does George Clooney really own part of the company 3 billion?
I am sure you must know or have heard something to say such a thing but I must admit I found your comment so amazing I asked around.
Despite no one being able to specifically clarify Clooney’s involvement in the nespresso company, I was told his agent negotiated a deal that included a profit share based on the % of sales growth that occurs during the period his image is used for the campaign.
That in itself is impressive but if you have any information relating to his business interests in the company, I would be very grateful.


Comment by George

How come so suprised George. These kinds of deals are normal. 50 cent made a killing this way

Comment by Niko

Hello Niko.
Yes these agreements are common but not normally in advertising campaign endorsement deals.
The 50 cent transaction you linked to relates to a product he created/owned that was purchased/licensed by the Coca Cola company. As far as I can tell, they did not pay him a percentage of sales simply for the use of his image in relation to a product they already owned and distributed.
The reason I would find the Clooney deal interesting is that it would mean an FMCG company has chosen to ignore all other established sales performance factors and instead credit the majority of theirsuccess to an individual. From an economic point of view, that opens up a huge can of worms which is something I cannot associate with the conservative Nestle.

Comment by George

I should clarify the Clooney deal I was told about gives him a fixed “bonus” if Nespresso achieve specific sales targets while using his image in their communication. It is not an open ended profit share.
Realised I may look like I was contradicting myself with my previous comment unless I explained what I was told in greater detail.

Comment by George

Actually vitamin water was a product already developed by glaceu. 50 cent was indeed pais for endorsement George. If you like i can send u some more info on deal.

As for nespresso, here in holland they run a very agressive b2b sales campaign. Their focus seems to be more business orientated whereby they are giving machines at bargain prices just to hook u on the capsules. From that pov Clooney seems to be more about reassuring/post purchase advertising, which would make ur info about the deal even weirder, though i can only speak for their practices in Holland.

Comment by Niko

To be complete,50 cent was reported to have gotten stock options in exchange for his endorsement/involvement. Upon the sale to coca Cola he is said to have earned 100 million dollar post tax.

Comment by Niko

Thank you Niko.
I have spoken with our Coke clients for some more background on the deal and they informed me their purchase of the brand had little to do with 50 cents involvement but acknowledged 50 cents involvement with Glaceu had a lot to do with their success.
Galaceu were a privately held company prior to Coca Cola’s purchase, which meant their deal with the rapper was easier to endorse because any public company, like an FMCG, would find it almost impossible to authorise hence my surprise at the deal 3 billion had suggested was in place with Clooney. (He may of course, still be correct, but I have no evidence of that at this stage)
I don’t know the exact details of how the Clooney/nespresso deal has been structured other than it involves bonus payments based on achieving certain sales targets. Whether those targets are based on global results or purely US or coffee pods rather than coffee machines is unknown to me at this stage.
The marketing program you describe being run in Holland is the hardware/software model and that sounds very sensible but do you know if that is a global approach or a local territory acting in isolation to achieve targets? Regardless, I still doubt Nestle offered Clooney equity for his involvement in the campaign if only for the complex legal issues that would arise from such an arrangement as well as Nestle’s conservative nature.
What this has told me is that “stars” should focus only on approaching privately held companies because they can demonstrate the commercial value their involvement will have for them and as such, structure a much better longer term deal for themselves.
A fun exercise, thank you to everyone.

Comment by George

my head still hurts from falling off the stool earlier… i found some info. no definite answers there, unfortunately.

‘”Nespresso is very good at working with the manufacturers to keep the cost of the machines down, and you can get them for less than £100, with special offers on top [such as cash back deals],” he says.’ (£100 seems to be a b2c pricing though) esp. page 2, 3 and 6

Comment by peggy

Does this mean the amount you guys accepted from google was chump change?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Slightly more chump change than you were ready to accept from us Billy.

I hear from Jemma you’re in the big city on Friday. I hope you are coming to say hello.

Comment by George

If I can collect backdated pay, I’m there.

Comment by Billy Whizz

The machines determines the way the coffee tastes by injecting air into it – so Im guessing most of the patents lie with the machine and that makes the hardware software approach the most profitable way to go in all territories.

Comment by John

Twilight zone moment #1463: Is the comment above this from Auntie George or George Clooney?

Comment by Billy Whizz

hahaha thats what i was thinking billy. i m scared now lol

Comment by peggy

Not sure who 3 billion are george, but Nespresso is a Nestle subsidiary and I think always has been.

Comment by John

Great minds.

Comment by Billy Whizz

i m going to fall off the ottoman any second now billy 🙂

Comment by peggy

And we’re not even planners.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Busy Billy?

Comment by Pete

I love waking up and seeing a whole debate has been going on while I’ve been in the land of nod.

Better still, with Andy away – it’s sort-of stayed on topic, however as much as that pleases me, I do look back on the times Mr Boucher and Marcus used to cause mayhem with a certain nostalgic happiness.

What a sad bastard I am.

Comment by Rob

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