So I started this blog as an assignment in my PR Online Tactics course in fall 2008. During the spring semester, I was soooo busy with schoolwork (specifically PR Campaigns class) I didn’t have much time to blog.

But now it’s summer and I have no excuses. So here I am. I am ready to blog again.


Celebrities have the networking capabilities and financial resources to putsherre2 their names on almost anything. Take for example, Sheree from my favorite show, the Real Housewives of Atlanta, she isn’t a fashion designer nor is she a model, but now she is coming out with her own clothing line, SHE by Sheree. It’s possible because she knows the right people and has enough money in her bank account.

What happens when a celebrity talks to the right people and gets tied into a brand or a cause? Does it attract favorable attention to the product, brand or campaign? Do the celebrities truthfully have a passion about the issue?

Some celebrity endorsements include:

Why add a celebrity to your cause?

Christie Adams said in her PR in Canada blog that celebrity endorsements create opportunities for the brand. Celebrity endorsements enhance the communication elements of a pr plan.

Getting a celebrity on board with an issue or cause can bring that extra needed attention. If they can draw more attention to your cause, the large amounts a celebrities charge, could actually be well worth it.

When a Celebrity Endorser Finds Trouble

Cleveland Browns’ player Braylon Edwards is the spokesperson for 5-hour Energy drinks. If you follow the NFL, you know that Braylon Edwards hasn’t been catching many passes lately. So does that mean this 5-hour Energy shot really isn’t that great? No, it doesn’t. However, some may think Braylon’s performance has something to do with the energy drink. That’s probably why 5-hour Energy drinks have a new spokesman, Osi Umenyiora from the New York Giants.

Another example is Michael Vick who is a former Nike endorser. After he pled guilty to dog fighting charges, Nike suspended all sales of Vick’s brand of shoes. Nike was also protested by animal rights’ groups.

The corporation was stuck doing damage control and crisis communications to offset the negative publicity caused by Vick’s actions. When deciding to book these celebrities for brand promotions, I think it’s a good idea to have extra room in the budget to do damage control when that celebrity acts unfavorably.

Are the Celebrities Really Passionate about the Product?

I believe the celebrity endorsements for Proactiv acne treatments have contributed to the product’s success. Some celebrities who promote the product include:

I honestly believe these top celebrities have had skin problems in the past. They were probably sent Proactiv as a gift to try and it worked for them. Since they liked the product, they signed contracts to do advertisements for it. Actually using the product enables them to make personal testimonies. Here is a proactive commercial featuring Jessica Simpson.

This ad is very believable and it probably has inspired many people to purchase proactiv. This raises another question. As Annie McGilvray said in her pr blog, if the celebrity really liked the product that much, would they promote it for free?

My Take on Celebrity Endorsements?

If I were a pr professional working on a campaign, I would be glad to get a celebrity tied into it. I would make room in the budget to cover crisis management. I would also try to find a celebrity who has a true interest or passion in my campaign. Otherwise, it would seem as if I added the celebrity endorsement only to draw extra attention to the campaign. A passionate celebrity would bring the right kind of attention to my campaign.

I recently read an interesting post on Behind the Seams of PR. This post discusses how Mariah Carey fans can be Luscious Pink” designers, as highlighted by Mariah Carey’s new perfume and the contest tied into it.

The new fragrance is called Luscious Pink. In a contest titled, Design a Luscious Pink Dress for Mariah Carey, aspiring fashion designers have the chance to design a dress that reflects the feminine, sparkling, magical and sensual fragrance. Mariah will pick the top design and three dresses will be made. One for the designer, one for Mariah and one to be auctioned to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

From Hunger to Hope

In addition to helping support breast cancer, Mariah Carey also fights hunger. The From Hunger to Hope campaign is a partnership with Yum! brands, and the United Nations World Food Programme. The campaign’s objectives are to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds to end world hunger. There are campaign ads on TV, in print and on the Internet.

Mariah Carey’s part

Mariah Carey was named the campaign’s Hunger Ambassador. Here is a picture of the poster featuring Mariah. It is hung in about 36,000 YUM! stores including: The From Hunger to Hope Campaign Poster

  • KFC
  • Pizza Hut
  • Taco Bell
  • Long John Silver’s
  • and A&W restaurants

Customers who donate to Hunger to Hope will receive a free download of “Love Story,” a song from her latest album E=MC2.

To reach some of her younger fans, Mariah has also included a From Hunger to Hope widget on her Facebook page.

Stats on World Hunger

  • One billion people world-wide are faced with hunger and malnutrition
  • Every six seconds, a child dies from world hunger
  • Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined

My Take

I think celebrity endorsements are a great way to create awareness about a cause or an organization. What is your take on celebrity endorsements? Do you think they are effective? What cause or issue have you learned about from an endorsement?

In the case of From Hunger to Hope, I believe Mariah was simply an endorsement. I did some research on this topic and I couldn’t find anything that showed that World Hunger was something Mariah really supported.

Not to say that she isn’t concerned about the issue, I just don’t think she has a passion for it. Take Tyra Banks for example ( I wrote a post on her), she is truly passionate about empowering women. If you’ve ever watched her talk show or America’s Next Top Model, or read a magazine interview from her, you can see that is truly her passion.

Visit some of the links I provided in this site and tell me if you think Mariah is passionate about world hunger.

And as far as celebrity endorsements go, we’ll talk more about that in next week’s post.

Tuesday nights at 10 p.m., I watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta on The Real Housewives of Atlanta Bravo. It’s a reality show about the lives of five women who live in Atlanta. I’ve never watched The Real Housewives of Orange County, but I assume the shows are similar. Am I right? If you are a fan of both the Orange County and Atlanta seasons, let me know how they compare.

So far, episodes three and four are my favorite. They were about Deshawn Snow, wife of Eric Snow , Cleveland Cavaliers point guard, and her foundation. In the two episodes, we watched Deshawn plan a fundraising event for the organization.

The Deshawn Snow Foundation

Deshawn struggled growing up and trying to fit in. She also dealt with peer pressure. She started the foundation to help underprivileged and disadvantaged teen girls. The foundation’s goals are to help girls:

  • build self-esteem and confidence Photo of Deshawn and girls from the foundation
  • improve methods of communication
  • provide educational and professional development
  • provide social and cultural awareness
  • promote and encourage healthy life styles
  • promote volunteerism
  • provide mentoring and accessibility to high powered women and celebrities
  • develop and implement an awards and incentive program

A Night Under 1000 Stars

A Night Under 1000 Stars was the theme of the Deshawn’s fundraising event. Early on and repeatedly in the show she said she wanted to “raise a million dollars for the girls.” Click the video below to watch Deshawn talks to a FOX 5 Atlanta reporter about the exhibits of her event.

Deshawn Snow on FOX 5

The Goal

I was excited to see how A Night Under 1000 Stars would pan out. I’m studying PR and taking two tactics classes this semester. I wanted to watch and point out the PR efforts for Deshawn’s event.A photo from the A Night of 1000 Stars Event

I was disappointed as I continued to watch. First, her goal of a million dollars was unrealistic. She was convinced she could raise the money by inviting the elite residents of Atlanta to her home. These people would come to the event and spend, spend and spend some more on the vendors and the auction items.

Deshawn didn’t raise close to a million dollars. No one auctioned on the packages and the vendors sat around and waited for people to dish out their cash.

How could Deshawn have prevented this? What do you think? I think she could have met with the executives of her foundation to discuss reasonable goals.

Secondly, she could have done better with the guest list. This event was free for invited guests. My suggestion would be to pre-sale the tickets. This way we have a guaranteed profit. I would have also reached out to the foundation’s past donors.

My Take

I honestly feel the event didn’t tie into the foundations goals and objectives. She is trying to build confidence in young women and A Night Under 1000 Stars doesn’t reflect that. Deshawn didn’t do a good job of linking the event to the cause which is why I feel the event failed.

There were diamonds and glam but the girls in the foundation were missing. Those girls should have been the hostesses of the party. Deshawn planned this event expecting people to donate. If the guests had a chance to mingle with the girls and understand why the foundation is important, they may have been more willing to spend their cash.

On the foundation website, there are press releases for all the foundation’s events except for A Night Under 1000 Stars. I’m confused as of why this event is missing. Perhaps, the media were not invited to the event; Bravo TV may have had sole access to the event.

Highlighting this event on The Real Housewives of Atlanta is building awareness for the Deshawn Snow Foundation. I reviewed the website and it seems that the foundation is all for a good cause.

However, the attention that the show has brought to the organization may not all be in a good light. The show is all about the glitz and glam of these rich women. I feel the foundation isn’t only about money and shopping. These episodes could have tainted the foundation’s reputation.

What’s Your Take?

  • What do you think of the foundation after watching the show?
  • What do you think of Deshawn’s event?
  • Do you think the girls benefited in anyway from A Night Under 1000 Stars?

Also check out the photo gallery from the event.

Red just so happens to be my favorite color. This color also has a deeper meaning. Red symbolizes passion, action and emergency. Product Red is an integrated marketing communication campaign. (Red) founders U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver created this business to build awareness about AIDS in Africa and raise money for the Global Fund, which invests in African AIDS programs. On the (RED) website, Bono and Shriver describe the AIDS epidemic in Africa as an emergency. They said 4,100 people die daily and countless others are fighting the disease.

How does (RED) work?

(RED) has teamed up with brands such as Gap and Apple to sell specialty (RED) products and services in their lines. When you buy any of these products, a portion of the profit is donated to the Global Fund.

A few years ago, on Christmas, I received a (RED) iPod Nano. I, of course, wanted it because it was the color red. The salesman explained to my mom the importance behind the (RED) iPod and she was sold.

The important thing to note here is that (RED) products are the same price as other products. So anyone could buy a black or white iPod or they could purchase the red one to help a good cause.

Who is on board?

The following brands all have (RED) products and services.

How can you help?

If you are interested in joining this cause, shop the brands listed above. All (RED) qualifying products will have the (RED) logo (like this t-shirt). If you would like to donate to help eliminate AIDS in Africa, you can donate directly to the Global Fund.

(RED) as a Community Relations Effort

Before Bono and Shriver created (RED) they teamed up to create DATA ( Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa). It’s obvious these two men are passionate about AIDS and Africa. DATA also contributes to the Global Fund. However, creating (RED) allowed for larger donations.

Bono and Shriver took their passion and their cause and got large corporations to cooperate. Now the founders and all these corporations are tied into eliminating AIDS in Africa. A good look for all involved.  

I think the great thing about this campaign is that people may be contributing and have no clue that their money is going to this Global Fund. You could walk into a drugstore today and purchase your mom a birthday card. That birthday card could help many people fight a life threatening disease.

In my past posts, I have reviewed three community relations efforts by the Save the TaTa’s organization, an election campaign from BET and a foundation started by Tyra Banks. What I wanted to do with this post is give some insight on Community Relations (CR). I want you all to get a grasp of what exactly CR is and why it is important to business practices.

Public relations is all about maintaining your reputation with your key publics. CR is one tactic to do this. CR is the way to keep your core values existent in the community or the neighborhood you serve. 

Goals of Community Relations Campaigns

In Fraser Seitel’s textbook, “The Practice of Public Relations” he lists some objectives to CR. I’m going to list the ones I feel are most relevant to this blog.

  • To gain favorable opinion of the community by stating the company’s position on issues.
  • To inform people in the local government about the firm’s contributions to community welfare and to obtain support for legislation that will favorably affect the business climate of the community.
  • To find out what residents think about the organization, why they like or dislike its policies and how much they know about its policy, operations and problems.
  • To establish a personal relationship between management and community leaders.
  • To contribute to culture by providing funds and promotion for activities such as art exhibits, concerts and festivals.
  • To aid youth and adult education by cooperating with administrators and teachers
Community Relations as a Social Responsibility

In marketing and management classes I’ve taken in the past, I’ve learned of a concept called social responsibility (SR). According to “Management” by Stephen Robbins and Mary Coulter, SR is the managerial effort to act beyond profits and protect and improve society’s welfare. SR may be a term you are more familiar with versus CR. They are very similar and you can describe an organization’s CR efforts as participating in their SR.

I like to think of myself as one of Tyra Banks’ biggest fans. I DVR every episode of her talk show. I have been an avid watcher of America’s Next Top Model since cycle three aired (that translates to season three for all of you who are not fans.) I also admire her style and confidence. Those two traits describe the model Tyra. What I love most about Tyra, the person, is her ability to uplift women. It shows the world how genuine and caring she is.

If you have ever watched The Tyra Banks Show, you have seen what she does to help motivate women and build their confidence. She has touched on issues of teen pregnancy, weight and body image and personal and career success.

Tyra is the founder of the TZONE Foundation. The foundation was established to uplift young girls and women. This video below is of Tyra explaining TZONE and why it is important to her.

TZONE raises money and provides grants to nonprofit organizations that benefit low-income and disadvantaged girls. Some of the organizations that TZONE has granted money to are the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York City, Girls in the Game housed in Chicago and the Sadie Nash Leadership Project from Brooklyn.

TZONE will only fund organizations that support its mission. An organization must support positive body image, self esteem, healthy living and appreciation for diversity, just to name a few. These issues are personally important to Tyra. By watching her shows and reading magazine articles about her, you know that these are issues she is truly passionate about.

In most cases, organizations can’t reach their goals. The reason may be a lack of funding. Tyra realizes this and started this organization to make sure organizations that were striving for female advancement are successful at helping young girls reach their potential.