17 Product Endorsement Advantages and Disadvantages

If you watch any television at all, then you’ve seen a product endorsement. These endorsements usually take the form of a commercial, where a celebrity, an industry professional, or someone who is similar to the targeted demographic pitches the item to the people watching.

You’ll find product endorsements on social media, in magazines, and any other place where advertising is allowed.

Do product endorsements generate better sales? They do, because people want to feel like they are close to their favorite celebrities or brands that understand their needs. With a product endorsement come a few disadvantages that must be considered as well.

Just ask Subway about Jared Fogle.

Here are some of the key product endorsement advantages and disadvantages to consider before starting this type of marketing campaign.

List of Product Endorsement Advantages

1. Product endorsements help your brand be able to stand out.

A product endorsement gives you a chance to differentiate your company and brand message from what your competitors are doing. Including someone who is well-known in an advertisement may also improve consumer ad recall, which allows you to stay at the top of their mind more often. That trait means your product becomes the first choice if a consumer feels like they need it.

2. It may open up new markets for your business.

A celebrity endorsement gives you the opportunity to reach out to a different set of demographics and new markets with the products that you offer. One classic example of this benefit is Nike. Before they partnered with Michael Jordan, the sportswear brand was primarily a track and tennis brand. After their partnership, the company grew so much that it has been able to reach into other sports as well. They recently signed runner Justin Gallegos, who has cerebral palsy, to create and promote another new line of products.

3. A solid product endorsement can build brand credibility.

People feel an attachment to their favorite celebrities. When they see people to whom they can relate, it makes them feel like the business or brand message understands their needs. Even if the product isn’t used, there is a trust built with the endorsement which means the consumer would purchase it if they have the need. Endorsements also reassure customers that the quality of a product will meet their expectations.

4. It creates a brand trigger for consumers.

When a well-known name is endorsing products or services, it creates a trigger in the mind of the consumer. Every time they see that person somewhere, there is a chance that they’ll think of the product being pitched. What is unique about this advantage is that even a fictional character can become the trigger if a consumer sees something similar in real life. What would you associate with a gecko? GEICO Insurance. What about a duck? AFLAC, of course. As long as the endorsement is memorable in a positive way, the trigger is set for the consumer.

5. Endorsements give your brand personality.

GEICO Insurance has created humorous advertisements for years. When you see their advertisement, you know that there is the potential to have a laugh. That humorous personality creates a stronger connection to the message that is being shared: that you can save up to 15% on your car insurance by switching to them. When you have someone endorse your products or services, even if it is with a fictional character, then you have an opportunity to establish a brand personality. That personality becomes another relationship building tool that can be used to improve loyalty, message retention, and consumer sales.

6. It speeds up the time required to establish a market footprint.

When there is a recognizable celebrity, someone who would be considered an A-List person, then you can speed up the process of bringing a new product to the market. It’s like having a friend recommend a new restaurant for you. Because they enjoyed it, you have confidence that your experience will be the same. That message is relayed through the endorsement, which encourages consumers to purchase the product if they have the need.

7. It creates a higher retention rate for future customers.

When you have a proper endorsement pitching your goods or services, the customers that do convert for you come at a 40% higher retention rate compared to a standard advertisement. If your endorsement is through an influencer, then the rates are even higher. You get to piggyback onto the loyalty that consumers have with the endorsement with your brand, which encourages repeat buys in a way that is difficult to generate with other forms of marketing.

List of Product Endorsement Disadvantages

1. Endorsements become associated with the brand image.

Nike may have scored some positive energy with the signing of Justin Gallegos, but it was not the case when they re-signed Colin Kaepernick to a deal that runs through 2028. Kaepernick is seen as the face of the NFL kneeling protests during the U.S. national anthem, which some have interpreted as a sign of disrespect. In response to Nike signing Kaepernick to a product endorsement deal, many people took to social media to show how they were destroying shoes, socks, and other apparel they already owned.

2. The image of an endorsement changes over time.

Subway knows full well how the image of an endorsement personality changes over time. Jared Fogle attributed significant weight loss to eating Subway sandwiches every day. For 15 years, he endorsed the brand, often with other celebrities, promoting the healthy alternative of a sandwich for fast food. Then he plead guilty in August 2015 to possessing child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with children. Unit counts are down 7%, traffic counts are down 25%, and domestic sales systems declined by $200 million while their competitors saw gains of $540 million.

3. It is expensive to hire people to endorse products.

PepsiCo once signed Beyonce to a 10-year endorsement contract that was worth $50 million. Under Armour signed Stephen Curry to an endorsement deal that is worth about $4 million per year through 2024. Derrick Rose once signed a 13-year contract with Adidas for $185 million, which was the largest endorsement deal in sports history in 2012. If you want to put a famous face with your product to pitch it, there is going to be a cost associated with it that some businesses may not be able to afford.

4. The endorsement may one day eclipse the product.

There are times when an advertisement, an endorsement, or even a celebrity may overcome the brand message that is being offered to consumers. This occurs when the endorser takes more time or space in the advertisement from the product or service that is being promoted. PepsiCo encountered this issue in 2017 when they hired Kendall Jenner to serve as a “bridge” between protestors by offering a police officer a can of soda. Instead of promoting the beverage, what was promoted was the message of the ad, which drove consumers away.

5. It may create overexposure opportunities for the brand.

Celebrities don’t support just one business or brand. Multiple companies pay for this type of marketing service, often within the same industry. Signing the same celebrity to offer a similar pitch may cause the credibility of the endorser to suffer. Instead of paying attention to the advertisement, the viewer is focused on the what and why behind the actions of the endorsement.

Shaquille O’Neal is an example of this: Sports Illustrated put together a list of the Top 50 Shaq Endorsements, with many of them occurring after he retired from professional basketball.

6. A good endorsement can’t fix a bad product.

Endorsements are based on the idea that the product being pitched is a good one. If your product quality is lacking, then even the best endorsement won’t be able to save your business from the fallout which will occur. The same could be said about poor customer service. If your brand is not helpful or fails to help troubleshoot issues that consumers may have, then you’ll be out the cost of the endorsement and still be dealing with negative reviews.

7. Not every endorsement is a good endorsement.

Even if we were to look through the history of product endorsements through rose-colored glasses to ignore glaring issues (Bill Cosby and Jell-O, for example, with what we know now), there are times when endorsements just don’t make sense. If your business is going to pay for an endorsement, it must be through a spokesperson who reflects the message and vision which your company promotes.

In 1989, PepsiCo paid Madonna $5 million to use her song “Like a Prayer” in a commercial featuring the beverage. They played the advertisement during The Cosby Show, so about 250 million people saw it. The only problem was that in the music video for the song, Madonna dances around a burning cross and witnesses a rape. Not exactly family-friendly fare.

8. You need to have more than an endorsement to stand out.

If you watch any television at all, then you’ve seen a product endorsement. These endorsements usually take the form of a commercial, where a celebrity, an industry professional, or someone who is similar to the targeted demographic pitches the item to the people watching.

You’ll find product endorsements on social media, in magazines, and any other place where advertising is allowed.

Do product endorsements generate better sales? They do, because people want to feel like they are close to their favorite celebrities or brands that understand their needs. With a product endorsement come a few disadvantages that must be considered as well.

Just ask Subway about Jared Fogle.

Here are some of the key product endorsement advantages and disadvantages to consider before starting this type of marketing campaign.

List of Product Endorsement Advantages

1. Product endorsements help your brand be able to stand out.

A product endorsement gives you a chance to differentiate your company and brand message from what your competitors are doing. Including someone who is well-known in an advertisement may also improve consumer ad recall, which allows you to stay at the top of their mind more often. That trait means your product becomes the first choice if a consumer feels like they need it.

2. It may open up new markets for your business.

A celebrity endorsement gives you the opportunity to reach out to a different set of demographics and new markets with the products that you offer. One classic example of this benefit is Nike. Before they partnered with Michael Jordan, the sportswear brand was primarily a track and tennis brand. After their partnership, the company grew so much that it has been able to reach into other sports as well. They recently signed runner Justin Gallegos, who has cerebral palsy, to create and promote another new line of products.

3. A solid product endorsement can build brand credibility.

People feel an attachment to their favorite celebrities. When they see people to whom they can relate, it makes them feel like the business or brand message understands their needs. Even if the product isn’t used, there is a trust built with the endorsement which means the consumer would purchase it if they have the need. Endorsements also reassure customers that the quality of a product will meet their expectations.

4. It creates a brand trigger for consumers.

When a well-known name is endorsing products or services, it creates a trigger in the mind of the consumer. Every time they see that person somewhere, there is a chance that they’ll think of the product being pitched. What is unique about this advantage is that even a fictional character can become the trigger if a consumer sees something similar in real life. What would you associate with a gecko? GEICO Insurance. What about a duck? AFLAC, of course. As long as the endorsement is memorable in a positive way, the trigger is set for the consumer.

5. Endorsements give your brand personality.

GEICO Insurance has created humorous advertisements for years. When you see their advertisement, you know that there is the potential to have a laugh. That humorous personality creates a stronger connection to the message that is being shared: that you can save up to 15% on your car insurance by switching to them. When you have someone endorse your products or services, even if it is with a fictional character, then you have an opportunity to establish a brand personality. That personality becomes another relationship building tool that can be used to improve loyalty, message retention, and consumer sales.

6. It speeds up the time required to establish a market footprint.

When there is a recognizable celebrity, someone who would be considered an A-List person, then you can speed up the process of bringing a new product to the market. It’s like having a friend recommend a new restaurant for you. Because they enjoyed it, you have confidence that your experience will be the same. That message is relayed through the endorsement, which encourages consumers to purchase the product if they have the need.

7. It creates a higher retention rate for future customers.

When you have a proper endorsement pitching your goods or services, the customers that do convert for you come at a 40% higher retention rate compared to a standard advertisement. If your endorsement is through an influencer, then the rates are even higher. You get to piggyback onto the loyalty that consumers have with the endorsement with your brand, which encourages repeat buys in a way that is difficult to generate with other forms of marketing.

List of Product Endorsement Disadvantages

1. Endorsements become associated with the brand image.

Nike may have scored some positive energy with the signing of Justin Gallegos, but it was not the case when they re-signed Colin Kaepernick to a deal that runs through 2028. Kaepernick is seen as the face of the NFL kneeling protests during the U.S. national anthem, which some have interpreted as a sign of disrespect. In response to Nike signing Kaepernick to a product endorsement deal, many people took to social media to show how they were destroying shoes, socks, and other apparel they already owned.

2. The image of an endorsement changes over time.

Subway knows full well how the image of an endorsement personality changes over time. Jared Fogle attributed significant weight loss to eating Subway sandwiches every day. For 15 years, he endorsed the brand, often with other celebrities, promoting the healthy alternative of a sandwich for fast food. Then he plead guilty in August 2015 to possessing child pornography and traveling to pay for sex with children. Unit counts are down 7%, traffic counts are down 25%, and domestic sales systems declined by $200 million while their competitors saw gains of $540 million.

3. It is expensive to hire people to endorse products.

PepsiCo once signed Beyonce to a 10-year endorsement contract that was worth $50 million. Under Armour signed Stephen Curry to an endorsement deal that is worth about $4 million per year through 2024. Derrick Rose once signed a 13-year contract with Adidas for $185 million, which was the largest endorsement deal in sports history in 2012. If you want to put a famous face with your product to pitch it, there is going to be a cost associated with it that some businesses may not be able to afford.

4. The endorsement may one day eclipse the product.

There are times when an advertisement, an endorsement, or even a celebrity may overcome the brand message that is being offered to consumers. This occurs when the endorser takes more time or space in the advertisement from the product or service that is being promoted. PepsiCo encountered this issue in 2017 when they hired Kendall Jenner to serve as a “bridge” between protestors by offering a police officer a can of soda. Instead of promoting the beverage, what was promoted was the message of the ad, which drove consumers away.

5. It may create overexposure opportunities for the brand.

Celebrities don’t support just one business or brand. Multiple companies pay for this type of marketing service, often within the same industry. Signing the same celebrity to offer a similar pitch may cause the credibility of the endorser to suffer. Instead of paying attention to the advertisement, the viewer is focused on the what and why behind the actions of the endorsement.

Shaquille O’Neal is an example of this: Sports Illustrated put together a list of the Top 50 Shaq Endorsements, with many of them occurring after he retired from professional basketball.

6. A good endorsement can’t fix a bad product.

Endorsements are based on the idea that the product being pitched is a good one. If your product quality is lacking, then even the best endorsement won’t be able to save your business from the fallout which will occur. The same could be said about poor customer service. If your brand is not helpful or fails to help troubleshoot issues that consumers may have, then you’ll be out the cost of the endorsement and still be dealing with negative reviews.

7. Not every endorsement is a good endorsement.

Even if we were to look through the history of product endorsements through rose-colored glasses to ignore glaring issues (Bill Cosby and Jell-O, for example, with what we know now), there are times when endorsements just don’t make sense. If your business is going to pay for an endorsement, it must be through a spokesperson who reflects the message and vision which your company promotes.

In 1989, PepsiCo paid Madonna $5 million to use her song “Like a Prayer” in a commercial featuring the beverage. They played the advertisement during The Cosby Show, so about 250 million people saw it. The only problem was that in the music video for the song, Madonna dances around a burning cross and witnesses a rape. Not exactly family-friendly fare.

8. You need to have more than an endorsement to stand out.

Before the internet, a celebrity endorsement could create a powerful impact for a brand, large or small. With the levels of information everyone sees today, that isn’t the case anymore. The average person may be exposed to over 2,000 brand messages in a single day. To stand out, your marketing must incorporate other structural elements, such as keyword research, hashtag research, proper page tags, and authentic content which offers value to the consumer.

9. It may generate temporary inquiries only.

When you have an endorsement which involves a celebrity, then you’ll create a surge of interest for your goods or services. Much of this traffic will be temporary. People will start to research your offer. They’ll look to see what values are being proposed. Many of the prospects which come around during the traffic surge will not result in a sale. Even worse, you might speak with others about the endorsement only to discover that no one knows who they are. You must be prepared to face temporary inquiries and treat them as authentic. If you’re unprepared, the brand experience will be negative and that is what will be discussed.

10. A brand endorsement is not reflective of brand expertise.

Many consumers assume that if someone is endorsing your brand, then they are experts. They’ll ask questions of the endorser, especially if you have brought in an influencer to make the pitch, instead of asking you. Since an influencer (or celebrity) is focuses on their economic benefits more than their personal knowledge of what they’re pitching, an awkward conversation you know nothing about could create a devastating negative result.

These product endorsement advantages and disadvantages show that a well-maintained relationship with a celebrity or important figure can boost attention, sales, and loyalty. If the image of the endorsement changes, then the results can be catastrophic. Even with proper vetting, it can be difficult to predict human behavior. That is why any relationship like this should be approached with caution, especially from a small business perspective.