A successful endorsement depends on three factors:
- How people feel about the endorser
- Strength of the connection created between the brand and the endorser
- The meaning of the endorsement—that is, what the connection tells people about the brand.
Tim Howard was the star goalie of the U.S. team in the World Cup. Since then, Tim has struggled in the Premier League but still has star power in the U.S. among soccer fans.
The el Jimador logo either on Howard’s jersey or on the labeled bottle is on screen for 25 seconds of the 30-second spot. The promotion offers fans a chance to take a shot against Tim Howard and possibly win $1,000,000. If the Tim blocks the shot or the fan misses, money is donated to Tim’s charity. El Jimador has done a good job connecting their brand to Tim Howard.
But this endorsement fails, as endorsements often do, on the third factor. What does this connection between Tim Howard and el Jimador tell people about el Jimador? What does the connection imply about the brand? It doesn’t take much to define the meaning of the connection. People are willing to accept most any explanation, but the brand has to provide some meaning to get real value from an endorsement. The meaning could be as simple as “Tim Howard is known for his defense in goal. El Jimador is your best defense against a dull party.”
To spend money on an endorsement and not give the endorsement meaning is a wasted opportunity.