Do companies use celebrity and sport endorsements because they really want to connect these people to their products or because it just looks cool to have them?
I bring you two examples. The first is a commercial from Macy's and the second is for Guitar Hero: World tour.
The Macy's commercial is actually quite genius in terms of celebrity endorsement. Macy's, itself, has all of these celebrities' products and in turn, these celebrities have to endorse their products and the store that sells them. It's all about the connections that are made within the commercial. Macy's wants to be connected to the celebrities and the celebrities want to be connected to Macy's; it's the best solution for their products to be sold.
Another smart aspect of this commercial is that not only do the celebrities play themselves in the ad but they also play off of what the public perceives them as. For example, Jessica Simpson is seen as ditzy which makes it humorous when she knocks the power cord out. Macy's introduced these ads last year and they are still shown on television.
You have baseball's Alex Rodriguez, skateboarding's Tony Hawk, swimming's Michael Phelps, and basketball's Kobe Bryant... pulling off Tom Cruise's Risky Business dance number... to promote Guitar Hero: World Tour...
Why? The choices for this ad are rather strange. Why these sport stars? Why the shirt and underwear scene from Risky Business? Why this for Guitar Hero?
The range of people playing Guitar Hero go from age 14 to probably 25 or so. I don't know how many of them are going to correlate the ad to Risky Business. They might see the ad and wonder why these athletes are dancing around in pink shirts and underwear/shorts (in Kobe's case).
It would have been a better idea to parody something a bit more recent or popular. Some might argue that that scene is a classic, but with the decline Tom Cruise's popularity, that scene is bound to been seen less and less favorable.