I make no value judgment here; only pointing out reality: In America today, celebrity sells.
If you don’t believe me, just turn on any radio or TV station and see how many celebrities – including a LOT of washed-up/has-been celebrities – are hawking products and services these days. Madison Avenue clearly understands the value of marketing campaigns that feature perceived celebrities. They are advertising gold.
So you can either accept this reality or reject and ignore it. Makes no difference to me.
But just in case you think using celebrities to promote political campaigns is different from selling hamburgers and carpet cleaning, columnist Doug Elfman recently published a list of celebs who are endorsing Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. And as you’ll see, the GOP is WAY behind in hopping onboard the Celebrity Wagon:
“For Obama: George Clooney, Samuel L. Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Douglas, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Betty White, Brad Pitt, Angela Lansbury, Judd Apatow, Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Reese Witherspoon, Quentin Tarantino, Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Moore, Neil Patrick Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Wintour, Sean Penn, Daniel Radcliffe, Danny DeVito, Salma Hayek, Tobey Maguire, Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Cher, Lady Gaga, Cee Lo Green, Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Foo Fighters, Al Green, Quincy Jones, Bill Gates, Alicia Keys, Carole King, Adam Levine, Bette Midler, Jennifer Hudson, Gwen Stefani, Michael Keaton, Ben Stiller, Spike Lee, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, will.i.am, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Antonio Banderas, Don Cheadle, Jamie Foxx, Edie Falco, Jennifer Garner, Whoopi Goldberg, Mark Hamill, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Tyler Perry, Nathan Lane, John Lithgow, Gina Gershon, Chelsea Handler, Bill Maher, Carl Reiner, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Tony Shalhoub, Jack Black, David Arquette, Angela Bassett, Scott Bakula, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Richard Dean Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Vivica A. Fox, Mariska Hargitay, Dennis Haysbert, Adrian Grenier, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rhea Perlman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kal Penn, Jim Belushi, Melanie Griffith, Kate Capshaw, Rita Wilson, Sharon Stone, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brenda Strong, Vanessa Williams, Victor Cruz, Joakim Noah, Alonzo Mourning, Sammy Sosa, B.J. Armstrong, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Sugar Shane Mosley, Ludacris, Jason Mraz, Kelly Rowland, Bill Nye, Jerry Springer, Aaron Sorkin, Jon Landau, Harvey Weinstein, Berry Gordy, Marc Anthony, David Byrne, Gloria Estefan, Ben Folds, Herbie Hancock, John Legend, Chris Martin, Ricky Martin and Yeardley Smith, whom you know better as Lisa Simpson’s voice.
“As for Romney … He’s got Jerry Bruckheimer, Gene Simmons, Vince McMahon, Kelsey Grammer, Scott Baio, David Foster, Chuck Norris, Jon Voight, Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Trace Adkins, Donny Osmond, Kid Rock, Danny Ainge, George Brett and John Smoltz.”
Let me close with this: You don’t have to be a national star to be a celebrity. Local and state candidates will benefit from being supported by local and state celebrities who are known, liked and respected by local and state voters. In addition, you don’t have to be an entertainer to be a celebrity. Any known public figure in the community – lawyers, dentists, car dealers, community activists, etc.
Again…you can continue to fight this notion that celebrities don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout politics and resist using them in your campaign. Or you can wisely adopt the age-old strategy of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Or better yet…have THEM join YOU.