Movie stars! Sports legends! Political movers and shakers! Celebrity endorsements and appearances can be huge for a business. TDmonthly Magazine gives 10 rules for working with the stars.
|"If you make them comfortable and appreciated, not only will they do their best for you, but you´ve made a friend that you could perhaps turn to again." —Joan Leslie Caldwell, former actress
Rule #1: Figure out which celebrity is best for you. Figure who your target customer is, then make a list of your specific top 10 celebs, working your way from least likely to most likely. And don’t forget: Every town has its local heroes, who can be as famous in their own corners of the world as big-name stars.
Rule #2: What’s in it for them? Celebrities have “going rates” for appearances. But, according to Rita Tateel, president and founder of The Celebrity Source Inc., “Family and children are their top priority. Then, their favorite charities.” Try to include a star’s family in the promotion, or donate the day’s proceeds to your star’s favorite charity.
Rule #3: Whom do you approach? If it’s an actor, call the Screen Actors Guild (http://www.sag.org/) to find the right contact person. Sports people are usually represented by large agencies. Call their team office and get that info. Political stars’ representation can usually be reached with a call to their hometown newspaper.
Rule #4: Leave paper trails. Always put everything in writing. If you make a phone call, follow up with a letter, fax or e-mail of confirmation. And don’t forget to cc the star’s reps, too. Pat Kingsley, founder and principal of PMK, one of Hollywood's top publicity firms: “We send copies of any correspondence we have with celebrities to their agent or manager.” And run it past your lawyer, too.
Rule #5: Make the experience enjoyable. Once you have your star, make a list of everything they might want to know, do and need from start to finish. The best way to make a celebrity and their reps feel secure is to show you are have anticipated everything.
Rule #6: Be careful of their time. As Harry A. Freedman says in his book “Black Tie Optional”: “First and foremost: schedule the event around the celebrity’s schedule.” Having a celeb there for the first hour of an event when the media has gathered is more efficient than having them hang around for a whole day.
Rule #7: Don’t demand too much. State up front what you need them to do, and keep it to a minimum. Don’t have them memorize a speech or kiss babies.
Rule #8: Always clarify terms and keep your promises. Make sure everyone knows what they’re getting into, and then stick by it.
Rule #9: Be warm and sincere. These are human beings under the limelight: be gentle and positive. As actress turned philanthropist Joan Leslie Caldwell explained: "You have to give celebrities structure so they can do a good job for your organization. If you make them comfortable and appreciated, not only will they do their best for you, but you´ve made a friend that you could perhaps turn to again."
Rule #10: ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL! You are not a fan at this occasion, you are a business person. Don’t ask for autographs or special favors. But keep smiling; this is going to be fun!
For more information on this subject (and there’s lots of it), please e-mail specific questions to TDmonthly, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be glad to follow up with you.