Celebrity Casino Endorsements – Smart Or Silly?

Beyonce brand endorsment
Source: Adweek

You know what really makes me want to spend money, or buy a certain product? A celebrity telling me to do so. After all, why would I buy this plain old brand of toaster, when the likes of Beyoncé might be telling me to buy another? That Beyoncé, if anyone knows toast, that girl knows toast. I mean, just look at her. She practically screams “I know toast” with every dance move and every coy smile.

Beyoncé isn’t really endorsing a brand of toaster, I feel I have to make clear, just in case you start looking for the Beyoncé toaster. The point is, that if she did tell me to buy a toaster, I certainly wouldn’t. In fact, I might just avoid that brand of toaster purposefully, just for having my intelligence insulted. But let’s be real. They wouldn’t have her endorse a toaster; it would likely be something more like a hair product, or weight loss diet, or something along those lines.

What really makes me raise an eyebrow, however, is the recent trend of celebrity casino endorsements. First of all; why would celebrities do such a thing? Second of all; does it work?

Celeb Success

Let’s start with the second question first; does it work? Well, if Beyonce wouldn’t make me buy a toaster, then Leonardo DiCaprio and Dustin Hoffman wouldn’t make me visit a certain casino. But I’ll get to that in a bit.

But me not being influenced by Leo is just a personal opinion, although I certainly think he is one damn fine actor. It so happens that there is a little thing called intrinsic association. Yes, I just learned that word, check out my enormous brain. What is intrinsic association? Well, it’s a little trick that makes a person believe they know something about a place or product, before having any real interaction with that place or product.

Which is to say, I might look at the toaster, remember seeing Beyoncé endorse it, and exclaim; “That toaster is already in my brain, I should buy it! Because boy that Beyoncé sure knows toast.” And so on. And does it work? You bet your bottom dollar it does. Why else would they pay Leonardo DiCaprio $8 million to attend a casino opening in China?

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Selling A Name

You heard that right; Leo DiCaprio and Dustin Hoffman got paid $8 million each to attend a casino opening in China. Just attend. So does intrinsic association work? Well, they certainly wouldn’t give a man $8 million dollars if it didn’t work.

This practice has recently spilled over into the online casino world, with the ever popular and annoying Paris Hilton appearing in advertisements for an online casino. This is direct intrinsic association, with her willingly having her face slapped on the casino.

Similar things are done indirectly, however, with certain slot games featuring celebrity appearances. In this case I can almost guarantee that it was done without direct consent from the celebrity. But Iron Man belongs to a company, even if Robert Downey Jr doesn’t. So Iron Man can be used to indirectly have a celebrity endorsing a slot game.

Endorsements Can Fail

And, just as a side note, celebrity endorsements don’t even always work. Comedian and actor Billy Connolly once endorsed the national lottery in the United Kingdom, only for lottery ticket sales to decrease. Apparently folks in the United Kingdom found the television adverts so annoying that they were put off. Much like I would have been put off the Beyoncé toaster.

In other cases celebrity endorsements can have no impact at all, resulting in only a very large sum of wasted money. Other massive failures include Oprah sending out a Tweet for the Microsoft Surface, from her iPad, and David Beckham being the face of Motorola, only to be seen using an iPhone.

And, in some incredibly amusing cases, celebrities will even be paid to not endorse products. Abercrombie & Fitch paid Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, from Jersey Shore fame, not to wear their products. That must sting something fierce.

A New Trend Dawning?

Many celebrities prefer not to be associated with casinos. And, in fact, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dustin Hoffman likely would not endorse a casino in the United States. China is one thing, but they would likely protect their images with their fan base in the United States. Casinos are still controversial with many groups, after all, and damaging an image is not wise.

So, for this reason I personally feel that direct celebrity casino endorsements will be rare. At least for the time being. And certainly with celebrities that have more of a reputation than Paris “I’m famous because I have a very exciting home made movie for sale” Hilton.