Celebrities, as we all know, can make or break a brand if they appear in its advertising.
Somehow, millions of people still buy into the idea that they, too, could have a more glam/happy/sophisticated life if they bought into a celeb-endorsed product – even if there is nothing real about the image/campaign, that the entire thing has been fabricated by a creative team whose career is to engineer the minds of the public, and the celebrity’s appearance is because they are being handsomely paid, rather than because they like the product.
When it comes to the world of proper journalism, though, celebrities don’t always win. Because we are paid to report the world as objectively as we can. And if the celebrity is rude/ignorant/racist/still bearing the scars from plastic surgery that they claim they’ve never had, then we will have to reveal that.
So, if your client decides to take on a celebrity to endorse a product, who might be slightly evasive with the facts, or tricksy when dealing with the public, or have inflammatory views, I’d keep them away from a decent journalist.
Our job is to ask people interesting, sometimes difficult, questions. And we pride ourselves on our professionalism. So no, we won’t put our questions to you before an interview. And if the celebrity says things you wish they hadn’t in front of us, then, no, we won’t scrub those statements from our recordings or our notebooks.
Take on brilliant, well-informed brand ambassadors who really are inspiring and we will magnify their brilliance – and hopefully help to sprinkle a bit of their starlight on to the brand. Give us a dud, though, and no amount of polishing will change that.
One day I might even tell you the story about the celebrity who spent 15 minutes during an interview with her back towards me because I asked her a question she didn’t like. My editor friends all know it already – which might be part of the reason why she very seldom appears in their magazines, either…