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How is a celebrity’s image affected by their political loyalties?
20th April 2017

There is no doubting that in 2017 celebrities play a significant role in people’s lives. Musicians, athletes and even reality stars all have legions of fans desperate to discover every aspect of their favourite celebrity’s life.

A simple browse of social media shows that six of the top ten most followed accounts on Twitter are pop stars with Katy Perry topping the list with 97 million!

Many of these famous faces use their social media platforms to express opinions on the latest topical issues and in these turbulent political times it has become commonplace to see celebrities pinning their political colours to the mast.

Yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May announced a surprise snap general election despite previously stating Britain wouldn’t see another election until 2020. On 8th June, Britain will go to the polls and you can be sure that in the coming weeks, well known personalities from the world of celebrity will be declaring their allegiances.

Almost two years ago we found ourselves in the midst of election fever and we saw an abundance of celebrities declaring which way they would be voting.

Perhaps the most explicit example of this came in the Labour party’s television broadcast. The video included The Hobbit and Sherlock actor Martin Freeman explaining why people should vote for Labour and it also included narration from Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant.

The Conservatives also received their fair share of endorsements from the likes of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, music magnate Simon Cowell and former England footballer Sol Campbell.

Then in 2016 even more celebrities became vocal about which way they would be voting in the EU referendum. Notable support for the remain campaign included Elton John, David Beckham and JK Rowling with Sir Michael Caine, John Cleese and Elizabeth Hurley opting to support the leave campaign.

Of course, celebrity endorsements of politicians are nothing new, you can go back in history to the start of the 1900s to find examples of celebrities backing certain political figures. President John F Kennedy was famously friends with two of the biggest stars of the era in Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.

But, can showing support to a particular political individual or party actually damage the brand of a celebrity? You only have to look at some of the criticism both Gary Lineker and Lily Allen have received on social media in recent weeks following their comments on prevalent political issues which suggests it can.

In the wake of the American Presidential election in January, Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg was vocal about saying celebrities should not publicly express any political opinion.

He said “They might buy your CD or watch your movie but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills. A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”  

No celebrity in the entertainment industry can be successful without people buying their music or paying to watch their films so the risk is that if the public disagree with their political views they may stop consuming their products and hence damage the ‘brand.

However, the question we have to ask ourselves is does a celebrity’s opinion really have that much affect to the man on the street? We know that they have the ability to reach a large number of people and have dedicated fan bases who presumably do value their opinions but for the majority of people how much sway does it really have?

Does admiring an actor or singer mean you have to wholeheartedly agree with everything they say or believe in? It is perhaps more likely that your opinion for better or worse may change in regard to the individual but for the majority of people it is unlikely to have any real affect.

Besides, surely it is a positive thing to see celebrities standing up for what they believe in and have an opinion rather than not speaking up for what they think is right. Arguably this strengthens the brand of any given celebrity as it demonstrates honesty, integrity and a strong set of values.

Of course, this is only the case for the majority of situations. As long as the views of the individual are not overwhelming to audiences it is not usually damaging to the brand or image of a celebrity to align themselves alongside a particular political party, on the contrary it can work in their favour.

Nevertheless, it is always better to be known as ‘actor and Conservative/Labour supporter’ opposed to the other way around.

If you have a campaign and would like to use a celebrity, then get in contact with Champions Celebrity Talent Management. Call us on 08453 31 30 31 or email talent@championsukplc.com and one of our dedicated team will get back to you.