Not too long ago, social media was in an uproar after a certain Tosin Silva posited that Laycon, winner of Big Brother season 5, was unmarketable and won’t get as many endorsements as his other top counterparts. He listed Erica, Nengi, Ozo, Kiddwaya and Dorathy as the ‘marketable’ housemates from Big Brother Naija’s last instalment.
In his words, “Laycon is not marketable at all; he won’t get plenty endorsements.” Pretty harsh and pointed comments directed at the entertainer and rapper. Some agreed with the man’s stance while some opposed vehemently resulting in a divisive, hot argument on the internet for days. It’s been a couple of months since the season concluded and the entertainer has garnered a juicy amount of endorsements.
Shame to his haters, right?
Laycon was unveiled as the brand ambassador of GOtv Nigeria, Orijin, Beautiful and Body NG and most recently, the confectionary, Mentos Fresh Action Candy. Whether or not these brands are a right fit for the ‘celeb’ and would eventually lead to successful campaigns is a question that requires another podcast discussion. We seek to explore whether there’s truth in the position that Laycon is unmarketable.
Firstly, what does one being unmarketable mean?
Unfortunately, it seems like fancy speak for conventionally unattractive. Yes, many brands look for handsome and beautiful people to represent their brand; it’s, however, never a prerequisite. In fact, successful celebrity endorsements, depending on the product, might not consider the star’s physical appearance at all.
The most critical detail is isolating the celebrity’s story or image and incorporating it into your brand’s marketing strategy. Laycon, for instance, has the story of the underdog that made it in the big leagues. A quintessential grass to grace story. A brand could capitalise on this narrative, if it fits the product, and weave an intricate, emotional and human story that would sell their brand.
Furthermore, attractiveness goes beyond physical appearance; it could be based on intellectual capability, athletic ability or excellence in a particular field. These are things the public could find attractive. The personal credibility of the celebrity is also crucial in ensuring a successful celebrity endorsement. Martin Roll asserts that there should be “palpable compatibility between the brand and the celebrity in terms of identity, personality, positioning in the market vis-à-vis competitors, and lifestyle”. A lot of times, these factors are missing when Nigerian brands are picking out ambassadors.
Some of the best celebrity endorsements are not mainly because the person is ‘Miss or Mr World’ but because their story and identity fit so seamlessly with that of the brand. Hence, Laycon is not ‘unmarketable’ but how he is marketed is crucial and cannot be overlooked.