If you're looking for pure noise, it doesn't matter what or who the celeb has done. But if you're looking for someone to bring real value or equity to your brand, the celebrity's values should line up with your company's values.
It's not so black and white. At first blush, I'd say who the hell cares what they do? But then again, if you're stumping for PETA, best not be seen scarfing down a Double Whopper. In the end, we all put way too much stock in what celebrities think/do/wear/say anyway.
Of course it does, because the clients are hung up with it. We were using Lance Armstrong for Subaru. If he did something crazy in his personal life, we would have heard about it. The first thing the clients ask is, "Is he going to do something stupid?" But I am influenced by celebrity advertising. In fact, after watching Paris Hilton, I decided to wash my Subaru while eating a sandwich, rubbing my hairy double-Ds against the window, in front of a prison. I think it depends on the strength of the brand a celebrity is representing, but for the most part, yes, I do think someone's personal life can affect their ability to represent a brand. It shouldn't, but it can.
I definitely think it does affect what they sponsor. When you brought up the question, I immediately thought of Jude Law, who's in the news for cheating on his fiancée. Women aren't going to be buying what he's selling. Obviously, some celebrities just aren't good fits for some things. —