Pictures of band member Sarah Harding making an obscene hand gesture at photographers are unlikely to be consistent with the image Nestle is trying to convey for the launch of its female-friendly 165-calorie chocolate bar.
The brand owner is lavishing a £9m adspend on Senses, which is designed to rival Ferrero's Kinder Bueno. The size of the budget makes it the company's biggest launch this year, and after confectionery flops such as Double Cream, the successful introduction of Senses is key.
Some coverage of the shoot has showed the band looking fantastic in party attire, but it is the substantial amount of negative press that is likely to endure in consumers' minds.
Jason Gallucci, managing director of PR agency Slice, which has worked with celebrities including Girls Aloud, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlotte Church, believes it is important to make sure stars are fully on board. 'You can do a deal with an agent but it doesn't always mean that the talent has bought into it,' he said, citing the example of Britney Spears, who was spotted drinking Coke after being signed up as the face of Pepsi.
However, Peter Shaw, managing director of Brand Catalyst, claimed that as long as Girls Aloud stay together, the tie-up is likely to work for Nestle. 'Where you have a problem with using celebrities is on issues to do with breaking the law, or serious morality concerns,' he said.
- Iceland retained Kerry Katona despite lurid coverage of her private life. Insiders claimed the brand valued the extra publicity.
- Kate Moss was dropped by Burberry when a picture of her allegedly snorting cocaine was published, but was quickly signed as the face of Virgin Mobile.
- Jamie Oliver criticised Sainsbury's over the farming of battery chickens, but remains the face of its ad campaigns.
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