Celebrated actor, Agya Koo, virtually stoked another bout of debate on celebrity endorsements with regards to political power and how effective they can be to such bids, after he openly declared support for NPP’s Nana Akuffo Addo.
The actor’s recent declaration follows a legion of other high-profile actors who have also pledged their allegiance and support for other candidates, most notably, President John Dramani Mahama.
John Dumelo, Clement Bonney (Mr. Beautiful), Kwame Dzokoto and some other actors have also endorsed President Mahama and have been actively involved in his campaign.
The question is; do these endorsements have any effect on how voters finally decide at the polls? Does the open declaration f support for these candidates by our actors especially, have any hold on their followers? Do these actors and other entertainers have any say whatsoever in who becomes the next President of Ghana?
What These Celebs Bring To The Table
What celebrities possess are essential elements of power, influence and immense following. These attributes of celebrities can inure to the benefit of any product, firm or movement; therefore, getting the support of any celebrity with such attributes is a big gain.
By virtue of what they do as entertainer, celebrities have been able to garner lots of fans as well as well-wishers, many of whom religiously follow their every move with such admiration and fervor.
The upsurge of social media has also given celebrities more clout with regards to the number of followers and likes they generate on their respective social media pages, the reason(s) most corporate firms trampling over in trying to get their signatures.
Celebrity Endorsement Has No Effect
Yes, celebrities have all the following and influence but such characteristics do not count especially when they are expected the tilt the mindset of their followers. In matters of politics, some political analysts have even suggested that, such endorsements do nothing for the candidates.
Yes, I may adore you as an actor, relish watching your movies and revel on seeing you on TV and all, but such adoration will not prompt me to go vote for candidate A, just because the actor says so.
When it comes to choices outside the field of the entertainer, especially when it about products, commodities and politics, the follower is discerning enough to know what affects him/her and what she/he needs to solve them. Your endorsement means little or nothing to them.
Wait! Endorsements Do Count
It is not entirely true that celebrity endorsements count for nothing. In fact, research and empirical evidence do show that, there’s some level of positive effect with political endorsement. There are die-hard fanatics of some celebrities who will do anything and everything for their idols including supporting any presidential candidate they opt for. A typical example is that of Oprah Winfrey.
Political analyst, Craig Garthwaite, who co-wrote a study on celebrity endorsements in the USA’s 2008 elections, stated that Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama also brought in 1 million votes in the 2008 Democratic primary. The endorsement was so pivotal, it became known as “The Oprah Effect.”
Another Way Such Endorsements Can Count
If celebrities cannot help politicians win votes at the polls, they do make it count in the revenue-generating department. With such gravitas, celebrities across the world, especially in the US – have been able to organize fund-raising ceremonies to raise money for politicians. Oprah raised millions of dollars for Obama’s campaign in 2008 and George Clooney is doing same for Hillary Clinton now.
Such a gesture can be replicated here too. Instead of following and showing face at just the campaign grounds, celebs can make their endorsements count by trying to use their influence and clout to raise some money to help the campaign of these politicians.
Endorsements Also Come With Risks
There are many celebrities who endorse politicians without knowing much about the ideologies, philosophies and the policies of the parties such politicians represent. Due to the huge audience they wield, any wrong statement from celebs, in contrast to the convictions of the politicians, could be disastrous for the politicians.
Again, once a celebrity aligns to a politician or party, his/her life is still under scrutiny as a celeb. The wrong move, which will elicit bad press, will inevitably be connected to the endorsement.