But it's a higher stakes gamble than it once was. Today's personalities can demand extraordinary fees, be difficult to work with and never produce the impact marketers dream about. In other words, added headaches, not added value.
Maybe all involved in this corner of marketing might profit from reconsidering the triumphant relationship of Dinah Shore and Chevrolet. Her death last month at age 76 prompted laudatory reviews of her career as singer, entertainer and TV show host. But she also came to embody a company and a product-General Motors and Chevrolet-in a way today's advertisers would dearly love to emulate.
There was that jingle, of course, that she enthusiastically sang each week at the close of "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" from 1956 to 1963-"See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet." But there was more.
She represented added value before anyone coined the phrase. Dick O'Connor, chairman of Chevy agency Lintas: Campbell-Ewald, put it this way: "She was terrific to work with. There wasn't anything she wouldn't do that Chevrolet asked her...She was part of Chevrolet and Chevrolet was part of her."
It's easy to write off the Chevy/Dinah Shore relationship as simply a tale from another era of TV and marketing. Nice story, but not possible today. But we think marketers are still looking for what Chevrolet created with Ms. Shore: More than a relationship, it was a collaboration that produced long-term value for their brand.
That's the next gold medal Nancy Kerrigan and her new marketing partners should skate for.