The Celebrity Packaged Goods Thesis is basically summarised as: Creatively tap into celebrities/influencers with audience to accelerate sales, value, and bring new realities to fruition.
Examples of the power of celebrity?
Kim Kardashian’s Private Equity Fund. Any product she invests in will immediately get access to a trusting audience of 100m+ potential consumers.
Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham United; applying the power of celebrity to increase ticket purchases, sponsorships, viewership, fanbase, and talent that was willing to help build up the team. They bought it from $2.5m from the bottom division as what appeared to be a comedic joke; and it just got promoted to the Premier League.
I remember a friend mentioned an alcohol distributor in South India that partnered up with local gurus for branding deals, which led to them being one of the most dominant drinks brands in the region.
Alex Macdonald’s 'Athlete Family Office’ – Athletes invest in companies and use their celebrity + partnerships to accelerate value.
Bono and the World Bank.
Celebrity Packaged Goods Collection: (Celeb Led Brands).
I bring this up because I wonder about the creative space of tapping into this channel and capability in emerging regions. What are some measures for ‘celebrity saturation’ - and how can it go further?
I’m equally interested in hard infrastructure, next generation technologies, and soft media plays like this.
If anyone has any thoughts here, feel free to share!
Some potential plays here:
→ Holding Company in an emerging market that has strategic ownership in the local media ecosystem’s top talent agency. (i.e whatever the top talent agency in Bollywood is, go for that!).
→ What is the opportunity here BEYOND sales acceleration? I’m not convinced that there are that many amazing consumer businesses that can be build in frontier/emerging markets due to low purchasing power. But, for core consumer goods, like education, how big a deal could that be? Imagine Byju’s x Bollywood (perhaps that’s just an Indian MasterClass)? I think the really ambitious version of this look closer to what Lambda School wish it was; imagine Sharukh Khan as a core ambassador for skill retraining platforms?
→ I’m genuinely interested in a model where you can invest in this because you can push the lever positively on cultural things that increase broader productivity. For example, in the industrialisation of the US, there was an immense amount of pro-technology propaganda. My favourite is the aesthetic of rural electrification:
→ Every nation and region that seeks to industrialise ought to invest in this media, which will inspire the next generation of local inventors, industrialists, and more. I love Arise’s Industrial Zone Playbook - and they would be a good player to partner up with for this:
More on this later…but until then, I leave you with a quote:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
and, in jest:
On the topic of building a financial model and imperative for this type of localised media, the way to frame this is as a form of insurance.
There’s a sense in which outcomes like the following can be seen as the result of not investing enough in pro-active communications and stakeholder alignement:
I’d also like to point out that there are forces that are explicitly getting in the way of industrialisation in regions that most need it - and they apply the aesthetic of enviornemtnalism to do so:
I highly recommend reading NJ Ayuk’s book the ‘A Just Transition’ to find examples of energy projects being blocked on a continent with (a) the world’s lowest gov.incomes and (b) 600m+ people in energy poverty…by people who come from a country that is the world’s number one oil exporter (USA produced 11m+ barrels in 2021).