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NGOs and celebrity endorsement

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Inge Melsen

on 15 February 2014

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Transcript of NGOs and celebrity endorsement

NGO's and celebrity endorsement
In essence, celebrity activists and advocates are leaders whose followers may be far more interested in the individual and his or her creative product than in also supporting his or her chosen cause. This leads to hollowing the critical debate on complex issues (Saward, 2006).

Christina Aguilera in Rwanda
Angelina Jolie visits Baghdad
What do you think about these family pictures?
Christina Aguilera and bullshitting charity?
- The coverage of the event was published in People magazine
Theoretical framework

Celebrity as a constraint for charity cause?


Celebrity as an enhancement for charity cause?
Angelina Jolie: the special envoy?
- Documentary style
- Involvement
- Notebook
- No background music
- Serious tone

Christina Aguilera, her husband and child
Academic debate:
Practitioners' view:
"But when most people think of the UN now they think of the celebrity on a crusade, not the work that goes on in the field after humanitarian disasters or on a long-term preventive level. Celebrity is at the heart of every Unicef campaign these days and the association is being sold incredibly cheaply" - Unicef officer (Guardian, 2006)
only PR purposes?
Halo effect?
"Celebrity organisations take attention away from smaller or traditional organisations: the more extensive media coverage, the more donations are made" (Kaufer, 2012).
Angelina Jolie, husband Brad Pitt and their children
Practitioners' view
"Partnerships raise money for children, awareness of children's issues and allow Unicef to involve millions of people not reached before.” - Sarah Epstein (Guardian, 2006)
Celebrity-led debate can educate segments of society on public issues about which they would otherwise remain ignorant (West and Orman, 2003).
Academic debate:
Propaganda: controlling/influencing people's beliefs ?
"I came home and really wondered about why some people are born to some situations and others are born in a different place"
- The campaign to feed starving children has been sponsored by TacoBell, KFC, PizzaHut
- The video focuses more on the celebrity rather than the kids and the cause

Christina Aguilera is at the centre of attention
The complexity of a problem is diminished by her star persona
- The UN video resembles promotional material
It is all about the way of communicating and branding
- Star persona in the background
Focus is on the people and their stories
- Jolie is not a saint
She still uses her ambassador status for her own purposes

As a summary, we want to ask you a question:
What are the most convincing and least successful PR techniques in communicating a truly involved celebrity image in charity work?
"We hope that UNHCR and the government will support you in getting a piece of land. You need help not because you are poor, but because you are the future of Iraq" - Angelina Jolie (Press Release UNHCR, 2012)
Full transcript