A report by celebrity endorsement specialist Spotted says that prestige watchmakers are among a host of luxury brands that are playing Russian roulette with their reputations by working with stars who could damage their image.
The study quotes the Journal of Advertising, which estimates that the correct celebrity endorsement can increase sales by up to 4%.
However, working with the wrong celebrity not only fails to deliver anything like this bump in sales, it also exposes brands to the risk of being associated with inappropriate opinions, scandal or even criminal behavior.
The Spotted agency has compiled a list of celebrities and the brands they endorse, and calculated a score for each one. It also analysed the public recognition, trustworthiness and personality of each celebrity, and how well aligned each celebrity is with the brands they represent.
Rolex’s celebrity strategy ranks as the best in the industry as a result of a few strong endorsements, and also a lack of weak endorsements.
Rolex’s strongest endorsement has been that of tennis champion Roger Federer, who has 116 career titles and held the number 1 spot in the ATP ranking for a record total of 310 weeks.
Roger Federer’s endorsement strength as it relates to Rolex is in the 92nd percentile, driven by a perfect personality match score in the 100th percentile, as well as a very high audience match score.
The next best endorsement for Rolex is Jordan Spieth’s, in the 86th percentile, also driven by a strong personality and audience match.
All other Rolex endorsements are average in strength, with the lowest one being James Cameron in the 63rd percentile, mostly driven by his very low consumer recognition rates.
Several other watch brands appear in the top 50 best endorsement deals, some of which are fashion labels that either make their own watches, others license their brand to companies like Fossil Group and Movado.
Guess watches are being worn by Jennifer Lopez this year, a deal given a 90.4 Spotted Score.
Kate Winslets’s association with Longines also earns a healthy 84.1 Spotted Score, while Jake Gyllenhaal’s watch ambassador role for Cartier has a score of 83.9.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are Tudor’s deal with Jay Chou, a Taiwanese musician barely known outside of Asia, with a score of 33.2.
Kaia Gerber, the supermodel daughter of Cindy Crawford, is associated with four of the bottom fifty ranked celebrity endorsement deals, but her work with Omega is not mentioned.
Hailey Baldwin, who just put her name to a Tommy Hilfiger watch, is in the bottom five celebrities with the lowest consumer approval.