Soda brands’ tumultuous relationship with celebrity endorsement

By Anais Dewitte

Dear Sodaholic readers,

Today I’ll talk about a fancy topic… celebrities! As you all have noticed, brands love to use celebrities to advertise and sell their products or services. It allows them to use the image of a respected personality who implicitly say to the customer that they use this particular product and who explicitly encourages them to use it.

And guess what, soda brands are no exception and they use celebrity endorsements just as much as other famous categories (sports, coffee…).

Take Pepsi for example, it is a young brand endorsing celebrities that can represent this spirit. They’ve always targeted teens through the use of sports and music. It was only natural when they chose Beyonce for their brand ambassador in 2012.


I’ve already mentioned Sodastream and Scarlett Johansson. It represents very well their humour, sort of second degree. The aim of the endorsement was to say out loud what everyone knows: you do need a beautiful girl to sell products.

For Coca-Cola there has been many brands ambassadors, the list is long and full of well-known and respected personalities. One of the latest is Jordan Spieth.

All of these examples show that soda brands strategically choose adequate persons, compatible with their brand image and value and this is key to the success of these campaign. Also, to have the best impact possible they choose familiar celebrities that the public will immediately recognise.

However, these endorsements raise some issues. For example, when the celebrities have several interests and defend other causes. Taylor Swift was highly criticised when she became the brand ambassador for  Coca-Cola Light because she was also known for her involvement in Cancer Charities. And the dangers of aspartame – used in diet coke to replace the taste of sugar –  on health are well-known. She received an open-letter from a food safety watchdog group in which we could read: “Your endorsement carries great weight with your millions of young fans”.

For Scarlett Johansson, she was heavily criticised because Sodastream is an Israeli company and has a factory in a settlement on West Bank. She had to quit her role as an ambassador for Oxfam after eight years of work for them.


Endorsements can be a double-edged swords: as much for the celebrities as for the brands. Brands can suffer from this backlashes in the press.

Anyways, when they are successful these endorsements are very powerful just look at Sofia Vergara having the time of her life with her Pepsi… 😉


Stay tuned!




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