The lure of celebrity is everywhere: we watch them, read about them, want to be who they are and want to support who they support. It’s little wonder, then, that many NFPs like to include celebrities in their fundraising and brand-building campaigns. Essentially, celebrities contribute to building a charity’s brand by transferring their positive associations to the promoted cause.
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett’s role as chairman of Beyondblue is a strong example. He delivers credibility to one of its key audiences, middle-aged Australian males, and his participation helps communicate the message that seeking help for mental illness is acceptable and not shameful. As well as building brand, celebrities can also generate PR opportunities for a charity. A celebrity endorsement transfers their personality, credibility and status directly to the brand. For example, as goodwill ambassador and special envoy for UNHCR, Angelina Jolie-Pitt tells stories of refugees to a media that might otherwise be disinterested. Also, celebrities such as Eva Mendes, Joan Jett, Justin Bieber, Kelly Osbourne, Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney appear in often-controversial campaigns for PETA, attracting mainstream media coverage as a result.