As a brand, we dream of celebrity sleepovers! But, how does a brand align itself with a celebrity that matches the brand’s voice? And keep it affordable? And get an ROI? Seems unreasonable! Unless you have sniper vision! Which of course, is a brand manager’s job! It takes a dream, a vision, a lot of execution, and a bit of dumb luck! Here’s our story of how we landed our first big celebrity without breaking the bank!
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know! We’ve all been given this advice and let us tell you, you’d be remiss to brush it off!
Our celebrity endorsement journey begins at the Orlando Surf Expo. If you follow us, you may remember that we met the pushers of Gecko Hawaii at that trade show. What started off as paying homage quickly turned into something more, and that’s where the vision began.
As we approached Gecko’s booth, we noticed a cardboard cut out of one of our favotite celebrities. This particular celebrity has been tagged in our ads countless times! If we recount 100% of the celebrities we’ve been told to pursue, this celebrity is mentioned at least 75% of the time! For realsies, we’re being honest. If you’re familiar with our brand it may be obvious to you; the celebrity we speak of is Jody Highroller, aka Dale Dan Tony, aka Riff Raff.
Ok, so there we are! In front of us stands a brand that is a heavy influence in our era of fashion. Dope, we can see that opportunity right in front of us but here’s where the court vision comes into play!
Gecko has a cardboard cutout of the Neon Icon right there in their booth and he’s draped head to toe in their gear. Ok, they obviously have a relationship with Riff Raff! So how do we bring this meeting full circle? Assess the situation and investigate some possible angles. We quickly realized that Gecko Hawaii does not offer sunglasses while visorshades are our main steeze! So what does this mean?
Let’s take it a step further by identifying that Riff Raff is a sunglasses guy! Follow us on this; Gecko isn’t in the sunglasses game and they clearly have a tight relationship with a celebrity who is a sunglasses fanatic! Can you see it? This is the perfect opportunity! This is a rare scenario where no one's toes will get stepped on and we, B Fresh Gear, have the opportunity to add value to both brands respectively! And that right there folks, is the key to keeping a celebrity endorsement cost effective. Adding value!
Once the vision was identified (and it was a lofty one!), it was time for execution! Step one; make friends with Gecko Hawaii! This was easy because we are genuine fans of their work. We used to frolic in the school yards dripping hard in our Gecko gear! Us 90’s kids grew up with them! We simply told them so, bought up a bunch of gear for our personal wardrobes, and boom! We left the trade show with an established relationship.
Next came the pitch! After the show we traveled down to the Florida Keys for some content shooting and to vacation! Besides, we find it easier to find our guts to do something when we’re half cocked in paradise, lol! After a few adult beverages on the beach, we worked out what a royalty split would look like between us and Gecko Hawaii and found the confidence to call Derek (owner) and hit him with our proposition. Custom B Fresh X Gecko Visor shades. The worst that can happen; he says no and we move on.
He said yes! This means the second phase of our plan is possible! We quickly got the designs nailed down and rushed the sample process. Once the samples were approved we ran into full production and shipped the samples to various interested parties which, of course, included Gecko! This meant that we could feasibly get the visor shades into Jody Highrollers hands via Gecko, and that’s exactly what happened! Two weeks went by and we reached out to Derek to ask him if Riff got the shades!
“What does he think?’
‘He loves them, here’s his manager's number, you should contact him!’
That’s the part that required some dumb luck, and by dumb luck we mean building integral relationships through creating value. What once seemed like a shot in the dark was now all too real! Like, holy sh***, this is really happening!
We called his manager. We discussed a celebrity endorsement. We told him that we really like the aesthetic of his client and we’d love to have him add value to our marketing campaigns. Then we told him, in return, we’d love to explore the opportunity of adding value to the Riff Raff brand. This is a famous rapper’s manager, he speaks business, we needn't lack the confidence to hit him with the ask. Don’t ask, don’t get!
Here’s where it gets interesting, Riff has endorsed other sunglass brands before but it usually stopped with him repping that brand’s products as packaged. Our approach was a bit different.
‘Hey Riff, you like the product and we think that’s great. We’re gonna give you a bag for the endorsement but we also want you to take a vested interest in the sales of the product! And by that we mean, we want you to lead the design process and we’ll give you royalties for all sales of this Riff Raff product line.’
He obliged. This is huge as it keeps our initial endorsement costs manageable while at the same time adding value. To understand the vision is to understand the ability to switch a potential endorsement into a potential client. See the difference?
On to the next phase of the overall court vision; meeting Riff in person to secure the relationship and show him what we’re all about! We paid him his bag for the endorsements. Traveling out to his turf further lowered our cost by shooting and producing all of the content ourselves.
‘You want us to use our cameraman and equipment, X price, you come out here with your own production, Y price’.
If you’re ever offered a scenario where you can save costs and double down with a trade show calibur meeting, we suggest you take it! Two birds, one stone.
We flew out to meet Riff, scripts in hand. This gave us the opportunity to receive an invite to his house which proved a wise decision as it set the tone for how we approach client relations. We spent 5 hours shooting content. We took breaks and hung out! Never underestimate the importance of just hanging out! It’s often what happens in the downtime that grows relationships! For instance, Brian was wearing the OG Glenn Rice Conns so he and Riff connected on the basketball tip and then went off reminiscing about the ‘Grandmama’ ad campaigns of the early 90’s!
After we were done shooting, he didn’t ask us to leave because, well, we like to think we genuinely connected. We continued to kick it with him. The Plant Based Baller even bought us vegan sandwiches from Dunkin Doughnuts. Through hanging out with him, conversations were had! As good brand managers would, Brian and Mike gently nudged the conversation into a valuable direction and got Riff talking about his love for sunglasses.
We can’t tell you everything that went down at Planet Riff Raff but we can tell you that we’re in the process of designing collaborative branded jody Highroller visor sunglasses, plus more! That whole ‘turning an endorsement into a client’ thing? Now we’re in discussions with him regarding his own line of custom Riff Raff sunglasses. He loves sunglasses but he’s a rapper and he doesn't have time to worry himself with the nuances of how sunglasses manufacturing works. We do! ADDING VALUE!
What a vision it has been! It has culminated in an ROI opportunity through improved marketing which will directly target Riffs audience. But that’s not all! It has also presented an ROI opportunity through producing custom Jody Highroller sunglasses. Now the celebrity is paying us. Passing money back and forth usually means one thing; a symbiotic relationship where both entities ADD VALUE!
And that there, ladies and gentlemen, is how we pulled off our first celebrity endorsement with a fixed budget. Put a few dollars down up front and come with a solid vision! Walk away with a couple new revenue streams! We should mention that this whole vision started back in January and we didn’t meet Riff until the end of July. Perfecting and executing worthwhile plans doesn't happen overnight. Do you have any idea how long Riff Raff has been grinding so he can blow up and act like he don’t know nobody? We’re just glad that we know him, pssh!