By Chris Gilmour

So Dame Helen Mirren has thrown L’Oreal into a potential crisis by giving an interview in which she says moisturiser “probably does fuck all”.

The kneejerk reaction would be to simply sack her.

It’s important when brands hire an ambassador that they’ve bought into the ethos and values of what they’re paid to promote.

But if they’re determined to keep her, L’Oreal has to think of ways to ensure authenticity – and avoid looking like they are trying to silence Dame Helen and her opinions.

Look at the context of what she said. She was being offhand in trying to get across the message that using a moisturiser in isolation won’t keep you young. It’s all about lifestyle, having a positive mental attitude and making yourself feel good.

And that’s probably in-keeping with the overall campaign message that most health, wellbeing and lifestyle brands aim to promote.

She certainly didn’t advocate consumers stopping the use of moisturiser.

And actually she was being authentic – she’s built a reputation in recent years of being quite mouthy and people like that about her. 

Nevertheless, brands need to take careful consideration when handing out a lucrative contract to an ambassador. Popularity alone is not enough.

They should think about:

  • Character - does the individual match the brand and what it stands for?
  • Reliability - will they be informed when asked about your products?
  • Training - can they be trained to become a long-term ambassador, or can your brand hire them for a one-off event?

Making a celebrity the face of your brand means you open your company up to being associated with everything that person says and does.

So beware.

And if your company decides to go with an individual as strong-willed and outspoken as Dame Helen, have a strong crisis communications team at the ready.


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