Jeremy Well’s fronting of Meridian’s latest advertising flight is another example of a celebrity taking a risky punt with their personal brand. When Hanover Finance melted last year I commented on Richard Long’s associated brand credibility falling too. As their front man, he couldn’t escape the connection.
For Meridian, Well’s is obviously bringing his recognised charm and wit to make light of a serious change to the Makara and Maniototo landscapes with the impending “windfarms”.
My issue is what’s it going to do for Wells?
I’m not convinced he’s got it right. The educated followers of his humour are also likely to be the well read folk who’re fully aware of the issues with power generation in NZ.
North and South have recently profiled the Mahinerangi windfarm protest following constructive pressure from the Save Central Otago lobby group. This group are also helped by respected celebrities Grahame Sydney, Brian Turner and former All Black Anton Oliver all propping up their scrum.
Having celebrity endorsement in these sort of debates is critical. It’s their involvement that creates instant human interest.
I’m currently doing a series of speaking engagements with Trade me’s “Revolution Tour” and one of my fellow speakers is TaxRefund.co.nz’s CEO, Geoff Matthews. Geoff’s company has arrived on the scene in a matter of months and its growth has been nothing short of phenomenal.
One point Geoff notes in his presentation is the influence celebrity endorsement added to his brand. Having active endorsement from Matt McCarten (General Secretary Unite Union) and Alasdair Thompson (CEO of Employers and Manufacturing Union) in his TVCs has been a huge call for support from two enormously influential people.
The key is, like the Save Central Otago group’s work, the Union leaders’ support is unpaid endorsement. Jeremy Wells, on the other hand, is being paid to bolster Meridian. That lacks credibility.