In the world of marketing, brands know that they cannot function or achieve commendable results on their own. The celebrity brand ambassador approach allows a brand to enlist a celebrity with a similar audience, goals, mission or interests, to increase leads, brand awareness and influence. Through ambassadors, brands are able to leverage their popularity by using them as a mouthpiece to communicate key brand messages to the market.
2017 was a beautiful year for both brands and local celebrities. While some may argue that celebrity endorsements are losing their luster, thanks to the digital boom, the year saw local brands embracing the celebrity culture and global brands finally recognising the power of “talking the talk”. When the match is authentic, celebrity endorsements remain a powerful way for brands to engage consumers, stay relevant, and generate buzz. There’s no doubting the power of celebrity to catapult awareness of a brand, but the partnership needs to be carefully planned and managed. I personally believe that anyone who promotes any brand needs to speak from genuine experience and be an enthusiastic brand advocate, beyond the paycheck.
AND THE WINNER IS…
I am proud to present the winner of the #GTCAward for the ‘Brand Ambassador of the Year’ category. A person I termed a brand darling, a person who has showcased authenticity, enthusiasm for every brand collaboration gained in 2017. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Ayanda Thabethe!
Ayanda x Pond’s
In July 2017, the TV Personality excitedly announced her role as the official brand ambassador for Pond’s Perfect Colour Complex. “Pond’s is dear to my heart, I grew up using the brand and because of that, I think the fit was so seamless and authentic. It means the world to me with Pond’s being a brand I’ve always used and loved from my teenage years and to advocate for it is really easy for me since I really believe in its benefits. I also love being at the forefront of a brand that advocates women feeling beautiful and confident, it doesn’t get any better than that,” she exclusively told GTC.
Ayanda x Mizani USA
A month later, Ayanda was announced as the new Mizani global brand ambassador. “We are thrilled to partner with Ayanda, as she beautifully represents the style versatility seen in the Mizani woman. Given Ayanda uses her hairstyles as a form of self-expression, Mizani salon services provide the perfect balance of protein and moisture to help her achieve the most optimal hair and scalp health, so she can transition styles without compromise,” Erica Roberson, Mizani’s Assistant VP of Global Marketing, said at the time. Ayanda’s role saw her joining the ranks of supermodels Chanel Iman, Maria Borges and Grace Mahary.
Ayanda x Havaianas
To kick-off the summer season, Ayanda once again opened up about another brand collaboration in an exclusive to Elle Magazine, this time with Brazilian flip flops & sandals brand, Havaianas. “Havaianas is a brand I’ve loved, respected and admired for a long time. Being from Durban, we live in our Havaianas. When the brand gave me a call, I was ecstatic. I didn’t have to think about it. The brand’s fun and care-free approach to life fits perfectly into my lifestyle and compliments the woman I am. I am very deliberate in choosing who I work with because everything has to feel natural and authentic,” said the award-winning stylish media personality.
Ayanda x Woolies
To seal off a hugely successful year, retail giant, Woolworths SA, announced Ayanda Thabethe and boyfriend Dash Mkhathini as the ambassadors of their #WooliesChristmas campaign. “I love being a part of great campaigns and brands but the cherry on top was doing this one alongside my best friend,” she told her over 600k Instagram followers.
Very deserving! Very authentic! Very brand driven! Well done on a superb 2017 Ayanda!