Uniting for Celebrity Endorsement

David Beckham has teamed up with Prince William’s campaign United for Wildlife which aims to end the illegal trade of animal poaching. David Beckham is a great soccer player, but why choose him as the face of a wildlife protection campaign? Here’s why . . .


When organising celebrity sponsorship, there is a huge focus on the fit between the celebrity and the charity. There needs to be a clear reason why the chosen celebrity has decided to support this charity in order to add credibility to the new campaign and rally the average audience behind the need for social change.

With this in mind, there would be a whole range of celebrities which would be ideally suited to representing United for Wildlife. David Attenborough and Jane Goodall are just a couple that spring to mind. These people have a strong environmental underpinning. Whenever they are seen by the public their commitment to the environment is further emphasised and their names have become synonymous with environmental protection.

Surely Prince William had the pick of almost anyone he pleased to join him on this campaign, so why choose David Beckham?

His association with the environment isn’t on the same level as David Attenborough and Jane Goodall. He is always seen by the public in a football capacity (when he is not half naked on the side of an underwear billboard). And his name is synonymous with soccer.

Well, rules were meant to be broken.

Putting an environmentalist at the front of this campaign would certainly assist an audience to understand where this campaign was going. A campaign led by Jane Goodall is clearly associated with environmental protection. But there is one inherent flaw with this idea. Those audiences who will be motivated by Jane Goodall’s message are probably already doing their bit. They are already aware of the issue and will still be motivated to join the campaign without her seal of endorsement.

To enact a societal change, a much stronger publicity force is required.

Within this United for Wildlife campaign, David Beckham and Prince William are leading a royal group of athletes including tennis champion Andy Murray, Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid and retired South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar. These people, while certainly not anti-environmental protection, aren’t currently strongly associated with the cause. But they have the followings, the reach and create the right publicity to emanate this message throughout the masses.

This is a delicate line that United for Wildlife is treading as you cannot just choose any celebrities. For example, Gordon Ramsey could not effectively be the face of an anti-violence campaign and Kyle Sandilands wouldn’t be taken seriously as the face of an anti-bullying charity. But these selected celebrities hold the influence over the potential campaign audience without having a history of actively working against environmental protection.

In essence, they may not be strongly related to this cause, but they aren’t strongly against it either. They are the Switzerland of sponsorship. But the one thing working in their advantage is their massive followings and the believability of their standing making them effective ambassadors for such a campaign.

For more information about this worthwhile campaign visit: http://www.unitedforwildlife.org/