Once again, Octagon First Call's David Schwab, who helps brands assess the value of celebrities for ad campaigns, is giving us his predictions for the marketing potential of the latest Dancing With the Stars cast. Check out his prognosis below.
I am pleasantly surprised with the upcoming cast of Dancing With the Stars, which was announced earlier this morning. And while pessimists will say the show still needs more A-list power, many of the chosen celebrities will fill gaps in the celebrity+brand marketplace. DWTS has once again delivered an Olympian, an NFL player, a musician, an AARP-friendly face, a sister network Disney star, a reality star and a wild card. Here's a breakdown of those we feel have the best marketing potential:
• Kellie Pickler. In 2005, Pickler crooned and charmed her way into the public consciousness as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol. Since then, she has launched a solid career in country music, releasing top-selling country albums. With the added national exposure of DWTS, and having well-liked Derek Hough as her partner, Pickler's southern charm and recent work with breast cancer awareness will give her a strong platform and distinctive voice for brands to leverage. Having her on the show in the spring, when American Idol is on the air, will also help her awareness, as media will want to talk with her about both. As for brands that fit Kellie, just flip through the advertising pages of US Weekly (i.e., fashion, cosmetics and jeans).
• Aly Raisman. This Olympic gymnast jumped, flipped and tumbled her way to two gold medals and into America's hearts last summer as a member of Team USA's Fierce Five. She quickly established brand partnerships with American Girl, Poland Spring and Pandora Jewelry. A turn on DWTS will bring her back into the public conversation. Fashion would be a fun category for her, as well as the healthy/QSR space. Other Olympians who have turned their DWTS appearances into successful marketing opportunities include Apolo Ohno, Shawn Johnson and Kristi Yamaguchi.
• Jacoby Jones. Still riding the overwhelmingly positive tide of his recent Super Bowl victory, Jones could quickly become a fan favorite on the show, following the footsteps of past popular NFL stars turned DWTS contestants like Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice and Donald Driver. While his status as a Super Bowl champ gives him strong credibility in the sports category, his turn on DWTS will give Jones a more mainstream platform and open a wider range of branded opportunities for the Ravens wide receiver. His name will be added to future short lists when brands are looking for football-player programs each fall.
• Dorothy Hamill. She was America's sweetheart at the 1976 Winter Olympics, winning the gold medal in singles figure skating. She likely won't last long on DWTS but definitely long enough to catch the eye of Olympic sponsors who are putting together their celebrity ambassador teams for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She is currently touring with Stars on Ice—an opportunity for the tour's sponsors to use her at different venues as well. Hospitality calls will be coming to the Hamill household.
• Zendaya Coleman. This Disney star is taking her elementary school and tween popularity to prime time with DWTS. (She has a million Twitter followers more than the next closest contestant.) Her background as a musician and dancer on Disney's Shake It Up may give her a slight edge in the dancing competition. While this move might not make her a household name, it will surely expand her visibility outside of the "kid and tweenverse" that she has lived during her young career thus far. Still, expect a lot of publicity from teen mags and increased exposure on the Disney Channel, as with past DWTS Disney stars Kyle Massey, Chelsea Kane and Coleman's Shake It Up co-star Roshon Fagan. As for products, lip gloss, backpacks and Claire's-type jewelry stores would work for her.
• D.L. Hughley. People know him from the ABC sitcom The Hughleys. He is currently touring with his comedy show, and while this move will not get him into the endorsement space, it will surely open the door to personal appearances.
• The Recurring Stars. Although the celebrity cast rotates, there are some recurring marketing stars on DWTS—namely, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough. Burke-Charvet is one of the most desirable celebrity moms for family-focused brands, and her successful website ModernMom.com is used to leverage these programs. Cheryl has two recent partnerships, with Impress Nails and Sargento, has launched her own dance studio and is a fan favorite on the show. Derek will attract more of the spotlight now that Maksim Chmerkovskiy is out this spring (especially with Pickler as a dance partner), and he continues to benefit from sister Julianne's rising career as well.
—David Schwab is the managing director of Octagon First Call, a business that helps brands assess the value of celebrities for their upcoming marketing campaigns. Follow him at www.celebrityacquisition.com and @david_schwab.