Wednesday, 28 August 2013

What is Celebrity Brokering?

Social Diary recently entered into a sponsorship arrangement with Waterfront, one of Australia's leading celebrity sourcing agencies working with big brands, big stars and PRs. It occurred to me that many PRs may not know the benefits of using a celebrity specialist, so I had a chat with Director Sean Pickwell about the nuts & bolts of it all.

What is celebrity brokering in 20 seconds?
It's all about having the experience, contacts, relationships, and knowledge to research, recommend, source, negotiate and deliver the right celebrity talent, cost effectively and with a minimum of fuss. It’s a specialty where experience counts. Waterfront has now been doing this for more than 10 years, and I was personally doing it before that at Austereo.    

Who are the biggest celebrities you’ve worked with & what is the biggest deal you’ve ever brokered?
Probably the biggest deal would be our recent negotiation for LG with Ewan McGregor as ambassador for their ultra high definition TVs. That required  full resources of research, significant negotiation and management of the process. We have also done a number of big deals with Pink over the years - she and her team are a pleasure to deal with. Locally Erik Thompson (Dave Rafter) was a perfect fit for Let's Insure- a huge star who hadn’t done any major endorsements until we approached him and negotiated the deal.

How do you make the lives of PRs easier?
We often get calls from PRs and other marketers to help 'rescue' a situation. Many people promise to  get a certain celebrity and end up not delivering, or pay too much, or forget some key aspects to include in the negotiation and end up scrambling to fix the situation. Just as PR is a specialty, so too is celebrity sourcing. When you do it everyday, you get really good at it. We take the hassle out of it for PRs: we research, recommend, negotiate and deliver the celeb in a painless manner.

What about "I need a celebrity ambassador NOW!"
Speed of response is one of our great strengths. We can move very fast for you and get to the right person to get an answer quickly. We get straight to the decision maker – the agent, manager or sometimes the celebrity themselves.

I think some PRs may fear they will pay more by going through a broker. Can you save them money because you have established relationships with various management companies?
We hear so many stories of people paying way over what they should because they had no reference as to what other deals were happening, or didn’t have an established relationship and got a standard 'rate card' figure thrown at them. Anyone can call an agent. What happens from there depends on experience, market intelligence and insights, your relationship with the agency and your expertise. PRs will often pay no more than if they went direct, and can often save a lot of money.

What are the most common mistakes PRs make when they approach celebrity managers directly?
It really depends on what you want a celebrity for. Many PRs do a great job getting celebrities to events or to use their clients products for free or get quotes/photos etc. If it is a full-on campaign with multiple levels, we can help you navigate, find the right person at the right cost, and help minimise mistakes along the way. We can help make you look even better to your client.

Want to know more? Check out Sean's blog post this week and subscribe to their newsletter at

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