Brands of all categories benefit from the recognition and popularity products gain from commercial spots. But with the vast variety of brand categories all pushing different products in their advertising, how can a brand be sure to secure a celebrity that complements the brand?

Capital One recently signed Jennifer Garner as their spokeswoman for their Capital One Venture Air Miles credit card, after ending their long-term partnership with Alec Baldwin. Capital One took a lot of risk – and survived – the potential turmoil of Alex Baldwin who has been known for his public blowups and meltdowns.  Arguably, air miles are an unconventional product to market and to find a suitable endorsement, and in fact the brand has the option to cast a wide net for suitable talent.  We took a look at how other celebrities compare and would stack up as potential endorsers for the brand.

Why Jennifer Gardner is a good choice:

  • Jennifer Garner is a recognizable face and voice – and consumers are usually more likely to like a trustable celebrity. This may be part of the reason Alex Baldwin’s tenure as spokesperson ended for the brand. Garner is a mother which appeals to that all-important primary purchase decision maker in America’s households – the mom.
  • She is relatable – almost in the style of a ‘girl next door’ type of feel which appeals to the average middle American consumer.
  • She has a clean image with no major black marks or sexcipades.
  • .  Married to Ben Affleck, she appears to have a wholesome and healthy relationship.
  • Jennifer Garner is cute – she is physically attractive, and brands are naturally driven to want to be associated with spokespeople who are good looking. .

What makes Jennifer Gardner a poor choice:

  • There are no true ‘bad’ on Garner other than past roles where she has played perhaps a less-than-intelligent character role.

Who might be a better choice?

  • Jimmy Fallon is the latest golden boy who everyone wants to be associated with. He has the honest Johnny Carson vibe and is trustable.
  • If you can get beyond card counting, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Gardner’s partner in love and life would be an appealing spokesperson for the brand based on his tendency to play more intellectual and in charge roles, while still offering a wholesome clean vibe. Ellen DeGeneres is also a spokesperson – seemingly can sell almost anything she touches but there is still a segment of the population who are homophobic, so more conservative brands may tend to shy away.
  • Sandra Bullock is an excellent option, but limits her brand partnerships. She’s won an Oscar.  She’s a mom.  She has a likability factor that is off the charts, and has created a lot of clout from her rise of just being a pretty actress to not only respected actress, but a Hollywood powerhouse.
  • If clocks could be turned back, Robin Williams was an excellent brand spokesperson based on likability, comic affability and his overall trust factor. He had a natural appeal that was not over the top, something Apple took advantage of in their iPad Air commercial.

 Captial One Alec Baldwin

Who would not be a good choice?

  • For obvious reasons, Charlie Sheen. He’s proved himself a ticking time bomb that only brands that are open to risk and living life on the edge should consider.
  • Lindsey Lohan. No brand is touching her for some time to come, as it will take more than just Oprah to clean her image and set her on the right path.
  • David Letterman makes us laugh, but is not loyal – he jumped ship from NBC to CBS. He badmouthed NBC/General Electric on a regular basis while under their employ – comical, but for brands too much potential risk and negative press from his behavior.
  • Tom Cruise has just too outspoken about religion (as a Scientologist he repeatedly makes press for his beliefs) and has an over the top personality. His action roles make him an excellent fit for a short window of promotional partnership with a movie, but longer partnerships may leave brands open to concern.
  • Matt Lauer would have once been a solid choice, but his cheating behavior has sullied his reputation.
  • Then there is the ‘too affluent’ factor where lack of reliability exists with talent such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio or Johnny Depp.
  • George Clooney is a great brand ambassador especially now that he’s ‘settling down’. He’s a guy brands in the US will want to work with – if and when he is actually open to working with American brands.
  • Beyoncé or Jay-Z. They may be top on the charts right now for celebrity endorsements but for advocating a brand that needs to be trusted, marriage outs don’t work and musicians in general aren’t a great fit.  With a lifestyle of extravagance, counting miles is not something they are likely to be concerned with – or able to have the public relate to. Sports figures are often harder for mass market appeal as their team association typically make them more regionally focused.  One that falls outside that mold is LeBron James, but he’s simply proven himself as not trustworthy.  He’s apparently only concerned with himself, after holding a giant media spectacle to decide where he was going to play basketball; he left his team Cleveland in the lurch when they most depended on him.
  • While Oprah Winfrey once would be a spokesperson any brand would want, much of her relevance may be fading as she is no longer in the face of consumers on a daily basis.
  • One day Jennifer Lawrence may be an optimum fit. She still isn’t safe for a brand as she is quite outspoken.  With a young career and a bright future, she is sure to evolve.   Taylor Swift is also still too young and her early music is about jilted relationships. With her recent farewell to brand Spotify, she’s moving in a bit of an alternative direction.  She has the apple-pie All American look, but is still redefining who she is – and needs to make sure she isn’t bitter about things that don’t go her way.

We think Capital One has made a solid choice to team with Jennifer Garner for their Venture Card endorsement. Who do YOU think would make a better option?  Leave us a comment and weigh in with your alternatives!