Who's Your Celebrity Lovemark?

Guest post by By Brian Sheehan, author of Loveworks: How the world's top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace.

We often think of Lovemarks in terms of products, but one look at the list of names nominated by people on and it will become apparent that sports stars, musicians, actors, writers, and even politicians, are considered brands by many. If we consider the amount of media attention given to celebrity, it isn't hard to extend the concept of Lovemarks to this realm.

Celebrities have become brands. They endorse and lend their reputations to fragrances, fashion, watches, coffee, cars, soda, shoes, banks, cable TV, mobile phones, multivitamins, you name it.

The Love/Respect Axis is always the starting point for determining Lovemark status. There is Low Respect Low Love -- call it the "Lance Armstrong Corner". Residents include Oscar Pistorius and John Edwards. Tiger Woods has been here. The Fad Zone -- High Love Low Respect -- is a special place in Celebrityville. It's a place of high-intensity action, endless cycles of NEW and WOW -- and then GONE, easily forgotten without having improved the sum of human existence during their celebrity reigns. The Khardashians. Brittany Spears. Will Justin Beiber get stuck here?

Then there are the people we respect but can't quite bring ourselves to love. Brand territory. The Guardian noted a group of supremely talented artists who they suggested in the can't-quite-fall-in-love-with category: Taylor Swift, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Anne Hathaway. Ice Queens and Irritants. And among the men there are actors we truly respect but don't find truly loveable: Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks. Maybe one day they will ascend to Lovemarks territory.

And there are the truly great ones, artists whose humanity transcended celebrity and fame. Anita De Las Moses from Toronto has been a contributor to for several years, usually on occasion of the passing of a person she considers to be a Lovemark. Her stories fully capture the element of mystery, sensuality and intimacy that distinguishes the great from the merely good. Her nom's include Bruce Lee, Frank Sinatra, Robert Kennedy, Maria Callas, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman and the recently deceased Ravi Shankar.

It's important to understand Lovemarks are personal. Just as one person's Lucky Charms is another person's Cheerios, thousands of people may consider Tom Cruise a Lovemark, but for others he is anything but. And like brands, the ability connecting with an audience is more important now than ever before, communicating with their fans on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, in building and maintaining relationships with fans.

The final step in becoming a Lovemark is to attract people to participate with a brand. For actors this is about attracting people to movies, products, and entertainment for years, not just when they're flavour of the month. Because we know that what they will bring us is joy and inspiration.

Author Bio
Brian Sheehan, author of Loveworks: How the world's top marketers make emotional connections to win in the marketplace, is Associate Professor of Advertising at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Previously he was with global creative powerhouse Saatchi & Saatchi for 25 years, with CEO roles at Team One Advertising in Los Angeles and at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia and Japan.

Loveworks follows Brian's books Basics: Online Marketing (2010) and Basics: Marketing Management (2011). He has been published in Advertising Age, the Journal of Advertising Research, and in several peer-reviewed books and journals. In 2011 Brian was presented with the coveted Teaching Excellence Award by the Newhouse School's graduating class.


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