If someone offered to pay you millions of dollars to endorse a product that isn’t healthy, would you do it? This is a question many celebrities have to answer, and a lot of the time, that answer is "yes."
Why should a celebrity care about people who are going to consume a product just because they see a famous person using it? Surely everyone has the free will to make choices about what they spend their money on or what they put in their bodies. Since companies spend big bucks on celebrity endorsements though, it's safe to assume that those choices are easily manipulated, and sometimes, in the wrong direction.
Just a few days ago PepsiCo made a deal with R&B diva Beyonce Knowles to make her the global brand ambassador. This deal, worth $50 million, will include limited-edition cans with Beyonce’s face on them. This is a particularly interesting development, considering Beyonce was part of Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" campaign to end childhood obesity.
Sodas (and the celebrities who endorse them) are a big problem for childhood obesity, and I’m sure Beyonce is aware of that — but she doesn’t seem to care. And so what? Maybe she’s just out for the money, like our capitalist society teaches us to be. I don’t know about other Beyonce fans, but I’m a little disappointed by this decision since part of Beyonce’s image was that she cared about community. This endorsement sends a different message.
There’s no denying that seeing a favorite celeb use a product gives a viewer a slight giddiness to try that product, even if they never would have wanted to otherwise. And that’s okay, since that’s the purpose of celebrity endorsements. However, as viewers we need to be careful.
When you see a celebrity endorsement that makes you want to try something out, ask yourself if you would have wanted to try it anyway. If the answer is yes, then try it! But if it’s no, then ask yourself why you want to — especially when a large sum of money could mean your favorite celeb is selling you something that isn’t good for you.
So what I’m saying is this — viewers and consumers, watch your back. If there’s anything Beyonce’s deal with Pepsi teaches us, it’s that it’s every man or woman for themselves.