Celebrities are always part of the show in the Ghanaian presidential election since the 2000 election. This is by no means a new trend.
Historians have traced the role of celebrities in politics back to the 1920 election in America, the Americans are people we aspire to be like in terms of democracy and how they go about their politics. Hence our local celebrities taking a cue from.
When the likes of Jewel Acqah and Fritz Baffoe endorsed the NDC in the 2000 elections, it was all peaceful and done in a tasteful and civilised manner likewise that of the many like, KSM who endorsed the NPP too.
The Euphoria died down in 2004 elections with those same known faces endorsing both the NDC and NPP flag bearers respectively.
In 2008, Barack Obama was endorsed by almost every American celebrity, triggering the yearnings of the political campaign teams of the political parties contesting elections in the 2008 in Ghana to pay our local celebrities to endorse them too whilst the one they seek to copy was done without the compulsion of money and other inducements.
Any way, it was still done in a civilised and clean manner. When the likes of Kwabena Kwabena, Daddy Lumba, Obaapa Christy and a whole lot was endorsing the NPP flag bearer on luxurious campaign launch platforms, the likes of Jewel Acqah, Amanzeba, Lucky Mensah and Lenny Akpede were endorsing the Flag bearer of the NDC too.
In 2012 the insults, mudslinging and name calling became the theme that characterised the elections. The rational for celebrity endorsements shifted from then.
Our celebrities forgot the core principles of their role as mentors, role models and mouth piece of their fans. They jumped unto the bandwagon of propaganda, lies and deceit like the politicians are programmed and designed to do.
These celebrities ascend the bias of political campaigns, and forget they were who they were with their brands, before the politicians came to knock with their inducements, hence their brands taking a nose dive.
These celebrities turn to speak like full time politicians, throwing jabs at personalities, mudslinging and speaking unintelligibly at political rallies— forgetting their fans cut across the political divide.
The 2016 election is no different. So how much of a difference, if any, do high-profile endorsements make? And to which demographics?
Because of greed and personal interest, they ride on the delusion that they have got social media follows, whom they think are their properties or children hence can compel us all to vote in one way or certain pattern, with their senile views and comments.
But not to lump them all in one basket, I would like to say there are others who speak to issues devoid of personality attacks and mudslinging.
These endorsement spree has exposed many of these celebrities as shallow minded and without substance. Many lack the conviction and principle to stick to their social responsibility to their fans.
In this 2016 elections, the celebrities fall over each other to endorse candidates. Less, backbiting and backstabbing themselves to be seen working for their side of the political divide.
Their cocoa season is in, for some of them to fund their way of living, what is it with this politics and celebrities?.
Political candidates can increase name recognition and establish credibility and by winning endorsements. Whilst the value of endorsements in gaining votes is debatable, some endorsements can bring particular benefits.
Like Agya koo aka Mr Adu Kofi has done — taking up on him to educate voters on the policy documents of the opposition document.
Tracey Boakye of Shakira movie productions, also chose to do adverts for the governing party. Hence over stepping by portraying as a mad woman who likes the incumbent candidate to the moon because of his looks and swagnificence, so she is going to vote for him.
With the rationale that all her followers too should vote on that tangent, forgetting in our constitutional provisions, mad women don’t vote, but only sane and sound persons, making her come across as unintelligent.
Also with her latest comment that,”Those who disagree with the president on his developmental claims, are either womanisers or lazy men” which is unfortunate.
Celebrities sometimes go public with whom they support. It’s likely an endorsement from well-known celebrity can carry more weight with local voters than the backing by some big-name, out-of-town celebrity.
Thus in the case of Evangelist Diana Asamoah on the opposition side and Mzbel of the incumbent government side.
Of course, an election can be won without a single endorsement. Generally, political endorsements are not considered a sure sign of success.
It’s important to understand the traits a celebrity has, also referred to as a source, should have in order to transfer positive meaning to a brand.
Does celebrity endorsements in politics makes sense?
We know celebrities grab and hold consumer attention, they also improve and recall. People are more likely to think positively about a product because they are familiar with the celebrity.
However, expertise is an important element when wanting to influence consumers. Credibility is another crucial factor that tells us not all celebrities are equal.
Those considered to be more credible have a higher influence on people’s opinions and decisions . Celebrities with prior political activism, like what Yvonne Nelson did with the dumsor must stop thing and that of Abeiku Satana doing with the tourism revival thing are more likely to have a stronger influence.
Interestingly, people consider celebrities to be more credible and trustworthy than politicians. A negative comment by a credible endorser such as Kwaku Baako can be as damaging as a positive one.
I have tried not to be bias or prejudicial in my write ups but the question still remains the same; does celebrity endorsements in politics makes sense.