As we all know dating can be tough, and probably toughest of all is dating a celebrity.

All that scrutiny and yet, all that attention! The allure of fame is a sinister love potion and the job of successfully matchmaking a celebrity is one of the toughest around.

Like a ‘stars without make-up’ cover, when a celebrity partnership goes wrong, it gets real ugly, real fast. For instance when the face of a new bourbon campaign is one of Australia’s best known recovering alcoholics or when J-Lo gets globally slated for her ‘shameless’ Fiat placement at the recent AMAs.

Too often we still see logo slapping, easy wins, and talking-head endorsements reeking of 1950’s base-level strategies, but consumers aren’t being fooled. Divorces are more common than happy marriages as the talent moves on to next brand’s payroll, and in the long-term damage both the talent and the brand’s image.

On the flip side, when properly set up and executed, celebrity partnerships have the ability to reach and connect to audiences in a way few others do. Think Gaga+Polaroid or Jay-Z+Bing, four big names and two really big marketing success stories.

So what made these partnerships so impactful? What makes the right pairings more real than ‘reality’ TV, and last longer and cost less cash than a Kardashian wedding?

Here are Brand Dating’s top five tips for effective celebrity brand partnerships:

1 – Strategy: Match the right talent with the right brand so there are shared values, aligned objectives and, ideally, a balanced exchange of assets

2 – Integrity: Ensure that the talent loves and is really interested in getting to know your brand. There is nothing worse than someone endorsing something they either know nothing about or clearly have zero enthusiasm for. Or being papped with a competitor’s product in hand!

3 – Contract: Ensure a two-way contract agreeing to broad assets exchange, ensuring talent use their personal owned channels and social networks for amplifying the partnership. This gives both additional reach and, more importantly, shows consumers that the brand and the personality have connected at a deeper level.

4 – Integration: The celebrity and brand must seamlessly integrate, using their talent to enhance the brand’s products or stories. For example, Lady Gaga’s Creative Director role at Polaroid and the new product range it generated, which drove consumer engagement via social media to dizzying heights: when Gaga mentions Polaroid on her Facebook page she gets over 20,000 Likes and her Polaroid YouTube clips get 229,000+ views…

5 – Longevity: Brand Dating MD and ‘serial dater’ John Gamvros says, “A good relationship is about constantly making each other better”, so some of the best partnerships are the ones that develop and evolve over time, such as John Travolta and Qantas, which continues to survive the latter’s other trials and tribulations.

So get out there and get matchmaking, but remember to date smarter, not harder.

John Gamvros
BY John Gamvros ON 25 November 2011
John Gamvros is founder and MD of Brand Dating. After spending eight years at OMD Sydney, co-founding Fuse, OMD's highly successful branded content arm,
he saw an opportunity in 2009 to merge media and entertainment and joined Stoke Agency, helping clients fuse music, fashion, film, sport and culture with their brands.
In 2011 John drove the development and launch of Brand Dating, an online dating service for brands. It has facilitated a number of successful brand collaborations and is fast becoming the go-to place for brands looking for like-minded partners.