When a celebrity decides they want to publicly endorse a candidate, they are creating a personal image that is subject to be speculated. Celebrity endorsements have become quite influential in today’s popular culture. But some argue whether or not it’s helping voters become engaged in the political process or if it’s just giving them an easy way out in deciding who they’re going to vote for. There is no question however, to whether or not the celebrity-candidate relationship is an approach of Public Relations.
There are definite ways in which a celebrity endorsement for a candidate has proven to be successful Public Relations. When a well-liked, politically active celebrity endorses a candidate, it brings awareness to that candidate’s platform. People are likely to pay attention to whoever their favorite celebrity is voting for, so they’ll become informed on that candidate’s political views. For example, I’m a huge Sarah Silverman fan. After seeing her consistent advocacy for Bernie Sanders, I began paying more attention to him. This doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily vote for him just because she likes him, but I’ll certainly listen to what she has to say about him and take interest. In a way, she’s also using Public Relations tactics to help him have his voice heard. She’s using social media hashtags, uploading advocacy videos and becoming a spokesperson for him. A lot of celebrities use their social media accounts to promote who they’re voting for. This type of situation can be good Public Relations for both the celebrity and the candidate.
On the other hand, if the public has a negative view of an endorser, it could hurt the candidate’s image. Ideally, candidates want to have endorsers with scandal-free backgrounds, good public images and a pretty strong knowledge of politics. Celebrities such as Dennis Rodman and Tila Tequila who support Donald Trump, who don’t particularity have the cleanest background, may be diminishing the candidate’s credibility. According to a blog on PRowl Public Relations, “the credibility of a celebrity can be reflective upon the candidate.” The support from controversial celebrities may even be a reason to vote against a candidate for some. Sometimes, a celebrity’s support can be insincere. Ka Vang from Minnesota Women’s Press believes that “the relationship between the celebrity and candidate is not always a sincere one.” Typically, rich celebrities can’t relate to the issues of a working-class American. This can hurt the candidate’s image and may call for some new Public Relations strategies.
Graeff, C. (2012, October 27). PRowl Public Relations: Celebrity Political Endorsements: A Hindrance or Help to Presidential Candidates? Retrieved April 05, 2016, from http://prowlpublicrelations.blogspot.com/2012/10/celebrity-political-endorsements.html
Vang, K. (n.d.). Commentary – Minnesota Women’s Press – St. Paul, MN. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://womenspress.com/main.asp?SectionID=2