For campaigns, celebrity endorsements can be a mixed bag. On the good side, they can help build the brand—if the celebrity is well known and loved, and his or her image dovetails with the campaign’s outreach efforts to voters. In the business world, companies seek out celebrity endorsements for the same reasons, which is why we see tennis great Roger Federer as a celebrity spokesman for Rolex, and Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy, plugging Ford pick-up trucks, for example. They’re good fits for those brands.
In politics, though, campaigns can’t choose their celebrity endorsers, and they have to welcome them all into the tent. On the Republican side, celebrity endorsers have ranged from Gloria Estafan and James Earl Jones to Meat Loaf and The Donald. The trick is knowing which celebrities to rely on and when, and which can help with specific pockets of voters. Republican Pat Sajak of Wheel of Fortune, for example, is beloved among a certain set of voters. Same with Tom Selleck and Mary Lou Retton. (Similarly, there’s probably a good reason we don’t see too many high-profile GOP ads starring Meat Loaf. There’s a strategy at work.)