Selecting a Brand Ambassador

Mike Whaley

With the influx of influencers in the social world these days, everyone thinks that they can make a living from having a following on Instagram. What some influencers don’t always understand, is what the value is for the brand. There are lots of things to consider when selecting a brand ambassador.

How do you choose a brand ambassador?

One of my favourite examples of what can go right with a brand is for the American chain Walmart. In SA, we mainly see the #Walmartfails when it comes to the customers random dress sense, and these can generate hours of entertaining content for us. What we don’t always get to see, is the sustaining brand love that has been created by them associating with an actor like Mike Whaley, who for four years was their brand ambassador and is now lovingly known as #thewalmartguy.  

Mike was the perfect choice for them to make over 300 commercials with as a clean cut and personable guy. His way with the consumers resonated with all Americans and helped them bring the brand into the lounge of every home. 

Mike even won an advertising Effie award for his role in their success. He is so well loved that other brands flock to use him in their commercials, hoping for some of that genie gold to rub off on their brands. 

If you have not heard of Mike yet, you can find some of his earlier work in Season 2 and season 3 of Under the Dome, the sci-fi thriller written by Stephen King. His character was Malick, the head security officer. 

You can also follow him on his Instagram pages here: @mikewhaley82

Mike Whaley
Actor Mike Whaley

When things go wrong

When selecting a brand ambassador for your brand and then brand associations go wrong however, this can negatively rub off on the brand. Nike had a double whammy over the last few years with Tiger Woods getting caught with his pants down, but this did not result in them dropping him as fast as he dropped his pants. They did however drop Oscar Pistorius when he was convicted of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day. Since he is still serving his sentence in Pretoria’s C max prison, there is no chance of them renewing a contract. Woods on the other hand took some time out and came back with a bang and all has been forgiven for the Golf Pro, as he is back in the spotlight with a new love and winning some new trophy’s.  

It is all about the scales of justice with Nike I suppose. 

Whoever you choose, it is always a good idea to research your selection amongst a few audiences. What may resonate with some people, may be a dealbreaker for others. So you need to ensure that you are not alienating your target market with a brand ambassador that is not the best choice for the brand, even if you love them to bits in your personal capacity. 

Article Written by: Beverly Cosslett: Director Sonic Communications