Local Celebrities and Product Placement

Jewelry retailers can try to push their store brand and product with nationally known talent, or they can look closer to home for local celebrities for similar opportunities. Chances are, working within a community could be easier, more cost-effective, and more successful, said Doug Hucker, chief executive officer of the American Gem Trade Association, during a seminar on Wednesday.

Hucker talked about where the opportunities are for jewelers to partner with media personalities, professional athletes, and even high school students of note. He said local sportscasters and anchors can be good for a jewelry store, but it’s difficult and expensive to get them to promote your product outright. You can, however, get these professionals to wear your jewelry while on the air or at events, but the chances are low that people will know it’s your jewelry that they’re wearing. “It’s a little bit like the real red carpet stuff,” Hucker said. “If you’re placing jewelry on them, it’s a little elusive.”

The best way to work with the media, including radio and newspapers, is to provide them with content, he said. News operations are in constant need of stories and sources. If you let them know that you are available and that you can be the jewelry expert in your community, your name and your store will appear in local broadcasts.

“It’s all about content, and you are the content. Television people and radio people, the one thing they need is content. They’ve got to have content,” he said. “You’ll be much more successful with any of these personalities if you let them know that you know jewelry and you’re good about talking jewelry. If you’re proactive with that and develop these relationships with these people, pretty soon they start seeing you as content. If you don’t have content, get it.”

One way to get content, he said, is through the quarterly electronic newsletter AGTA sends to its members.

Hucker went on to say that talk radio can be a great opportunity for a local jeweler, but it’s expensive and there are barriers to getting in. It’s advertising, but it’s different from other media because it’s a paid relationship with the host of the program. In many cases, it requires an interview.

“Talk radio is one of the most impactful, most successful ways you can do it, because it is the most passionate, most intimate [medium]. Listeners are very, very loyal,” he said. “They only have so many spots per week when they are on, and these guys are picking what they take and don’t take.”

He added, “They want to believe in that product before they endorse it and sell it.”
He said advertising usually is sold in 20- to 25-week slots, and ads run two to four times per week. “You can see results very quickly, and you need to see results very quickly, because it’s expensive,” he said. “When they hear Rush Limbaugh say it, they believe it. Talk radio is one of the most effective ways to work with local celebrities. They are looking for content.”

Hucker said athletes are down low in the pecking order when it comes to promoting jewelry, but again, there are smart ways to use these professionals. “I don’t think they’re real good with jewelry, to be honest with you,” he said. “I think about professional athletes as bringing people into your store for an event.… Professional athletes touting your jewelry doesn’t work. Touting your reputation works.”

An overlooked group of celebrities are people in high school, he said. Some football teams are big attractions in local communities, and drama performances could be another way to draw attention to the school. “They are cheap as dirt, and they love to do it,” he said.

If you hold a student performance or an event involving local football players, it automatically attracts parents, community activists, and fans, he said.