Few days ago, there was a report in the media that South Korean Smartphone producer, Samsung is suing its Russian brand ambassador, Ksenia Sobchak for $1.6 million for using rivalry brand, iPhone X in public instead of Samsung product she was supposed to be promoting.
Sobchak, a reality TV show host, and politician was hired by Samsung to market its smartphones in Russian and contracted to use the smartphones in public. Under the terms of similar agreements between companies and influential people, they are not typically allowed to be seen using competing products in public, a rule that Sobchak broke.
She was spotted using an iPhone X during a television interview, trying to hide the Apple Smartphone under a piece of paper while the cameras were on.
This was also the case when Infinix Mobility early this year announced Nigerian Pop star, Davido as its brand ambassador in Nigeria. The announcement was greeted with much disbelief from people as they doubted the connection between the rich kid and the brand which is mostly used by low-income earners and the middle class.
According to a social media analyst, Tope Adebiyi, “when you compare Davido as a brand with the brand Infinix, it seems to be incongruous, (two extremes)”
Nigerians took to social media then to announced that the relationship between the two brands, Davido and Infinix is a mere fallacy and will never fly. After the endorsement in May 8, 2018, the artiste has not done much promotion for the brand.
In a report conducted by USP Brand Management, it says there is a science to choosing the right people to represent brands and if managed properly, there will be great rewards “The best ambassadors appreciate the importance of authenticity in modern marketing and grasp the role that digital marketing and social media play in driving high-quality referrals” the report stated.
It didn’t come as a surprise when the leader of 30billion gang posted on his Instagram that he bought new iPhone for his crew after the Osun Election in which his uncle Ademola Adeleke contested but eventually lost. The DMW boss wrote: “New iPhone for the gang!” it was a slap in the face.
One cannot blame the “star” for his choice of the brand, he’s a premium brand, so, Apple products are known for being premium products too. Before Davido bagged the endorsement deal with Infinix, he has been a fan of iPhone. In 2017, shortly before his birthday celebration, the generous artiste purchased the newly released iPhone X for his crew while in Lebanon for a show.
As Samsung is setting the pace to maintain conformity with an agreement, it will tell on other brands as well not to see brand ambassadors as semi-gods to them.
In choosing brand ambassadors, brands seem to be falling off the ground. The popularity of an artiste doesn’t change the purchasing power of a customer. Especially when a wrong person is chosen a represents a brand he doesn’t have an affinity with. A naked person cannot promote Gucci clothes just like an Albino cannot promote the use of salt.
There is a need for brand owners, PR agencies to look deep and do adequate research before choosing a brand ambassador because a wrong choice can cause a disaster for a brand.
While we await the aftermath of the Samsung- Sobchak case, we ask, is it possible for Nigeria brands to challenge their ambassadors just like Samsung did?