"Last week at the Cannes film festival, Ms. Stone gave a television interview saying she is "not happy" about China's treatment of Tibet, where violent protests broke out in March. "And then this earthquake happened," Ms. Stone said. "And I said, 'Is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?'"Actually, the Journal's report makes Stone sound significantly smarter than she comes across on the video (you can watch her comments here).
So what does this have to do with branding? Too many brands (mostly with weak brand stories) rely on the fame and popularity of a sports figure, model, or actor to lend cache to their product. The problem is, it almost never works. Consumers know celebrities are paid for their endorsements. And when the celebrity goes off message (or worse), it can have serious implications for the brand. A few examples: Kobe Bryant (charged were dropped), Kate Moss, Britney, we could go on... and on.) There's nothing quite like offending a billion potential customers with an off-hand remark.
Dior took a risk, trying to attach its brand to a (somewhat) popular actress, to cash in on her notoriety and fame. And it got stung. Now it's got a bit of a PR disaster on its hands, at least in China. A better solution is to figure out what's unique about the brand and tell that story. But finding and telling brand stories is hard. And hiring an actor with a decent Q score is easy. So there's no doubt it won't be long before we see another brand get stung by questionable celebrity behavior.
Boing Boing reports on some of the fallout (video available here too).
More from China Business Blog.
And from the Red Cross...