Which Marketers Might Want Susan Boyle Singing Their Praises?

U.K. Creatives Weigh In on Potential Brand Partners for 'Britain's Got Talent' Sensation

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Susan Boyle is continuing to make headlines -- the latest gossip is that celebrity fans Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher will fly to London to support her in Saturday's final of "Britain's Got Talent" -- and pull in audiences, with half of all TV viewers in the U.K. tuning in to watch her win her semifinal this week.

Susan Boyle
Susan Boyle Credit: AP
She is still the runaway favorite to win the contest, but whether or not Ms. Boyle beats Welsh wonder kid Shaheen Jafargholi and bare-chested father-and-son dancing duo Stavros Flatley, she is likely to be a target for marketers wanting to borrow some of her magic.

Despite a recent makeover, Susan Boyle is still recognizable as the singing sensation who surprised the judges at her audition with a stunning rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," which attracted a YouTube audience of 60 million. Simon Cowell's close TV aide and former girlfriend, Sinitta, has suggested Ms. Boyle could become Britain's answer to Oprah.

No deals allowed until after the show
Nothing can be finalized until after the show ends on Saturday, but which brands might be queuing up to sign a 48-year-old, unemployed Scottish church volunteer who says she's never been kissed?

"She's certainly not likely to be the face of any fashion house or perfume," said Chris Arnold, founder of London independent agency Creative Orchestra. "Her appeal is in being a really ordinary person; that's why everyone relates to her. She's ideal for the good, unglamorous, honest brands that are brilliant at what they do."

Alan Young, creative partner at St Luke's, said, "She's inspiring, especially to older people who can look at her and think, 'I've still got it in me -- there's hope for me yet.'"

Mr. Young said she has potential appeal for brands that are judged by appearance rather than content. "When we first saw her, we thought she shouldn't be up there. Then we heard her singing, and we overcame our prejudices. There's an element of surprise and a hidden talent that would be right for brands with an ugly exterior."

Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Omo. The no-frills washing powder could espouse Susan's homely values. It's not fancy, but it outperforms the competition.
  2. Asda's value products. The Walmart-owned supermarket chain, another honest, low-glamour brand, has recently shunned celebrities in its ads but could make an exception for the ultimate anti-celebrity.
  3. Brillo pads. Mr. Arnold provides the strategy: "These things may not look sexy, but when they get to work, boy do they shine." There's good synergy, too, between the product and Ms. Boyle's coiffure.
  4. The Department of Education. The U.K. government is making a massive push to get the over 50s into adult education. Ms. Boyle is the perfect poster girl for people who worry they may have missed the boat -- if she can turn her life around, anyone can.
  5. Subaru. "The cars get uglier every year," Mr. Young said, "but everyone who looks beyond appearances and actually drives a Subaru is a massive fan because the performance is so amazing. You can't help but hate it until you drive it -- and then you can't help but love it."

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