Gillette and Thierry – the dangers of brand ambassadors

It is all about value transference. There is little doubt that associating key personalities, sporting or otherwise, with a brand can provide major benefits if executed wisely and sensitively. But there are already rumours of the public (well, perhaps only the Irish public) calling for a boycott of Gillette following Thierry Henry’s helping hand in his country’s World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

Only a minor issue for the brand, I’m sure, but it does flag up the potential dangers for both the sponsored and the sponsor. Both are assuming some shared values that will benefit the brand and the personality – but things do go wrong. Stars have been known to behave badly… very badly at times.  Brand stewards can equally get involved in matters that may make their chosen personality bury their heads in their hands.

I can’t help thinking of the old music hall song by Benjamin Hapgood Burt- “The pig that walked away”

One evening in October, when I was one-third sober,
An’ taking home a ‘load’ with manly pride;
My poor feet began to stutter, so I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came up an’ lay down by my side;
Then we sang ‘It’s all fair weather when good fellows get together,’
Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
‘You can tell a man who “boozes” by the company he chooses’
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.


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