The latest campaign from US pet care giant Petco sees Snoop Dogg espousing the virtues of the brand’s food, toys and care products as if they have an immediate and real impact on his well-being. He then reveals these are just the thoughts of Calvin, a real dog (one G). Classic gag. Mind you, the shot of Snoop playing with a dog toy is genuinely funny. Plus, getting Snoop to play a dog is truly a partnership made in (doggy) heaven.

According to Petco’s press release, it’s all part of the brand’s existing, “It’s What We’d Want If We Were Pets” platform, where human actors personify their pets. For this iteration, they’ve gone one step further. Sharing a curated list of his favourite products, including toys, treats and grooming supplies.

Closer to home, Snoop was also the ambassador for Menulog. Bringing his unique style and flow to the brand and providing the gin and juice needed to live up to the brand’s unapologetic personality. Remember the Menulog-Snoop-Origin crossover? Shooting hoops with a Steeden. G behaviour.

It’s not all pet and human food though. Snoop’s ambassadorial roles seem to extend to all different brands and sectors. Some you’d expect some you wouldn’t.

He’s fronted for Bic, helping to fire up their lighters. And partnered with Dutch denim brand G-Star RAW. Streetwear-for-your-mum brand Sketchers use him too. As well as high-end fashion retailer Chanel.

Clearly, we’ve come a long way since sports stars donned our cereal boxes. And before you ask, yes he’s got a kid’s cereal brand too. As if you don’t want to try some Snoop Hoopz.

So what makes D.O.G.G the brand ambassador G.O.A.T?

Authenticity could hold the key 

Snoop has carved out a niche role as the ideal, modern brand spokesperson. And authenticity is a big reason why.

Usually, brand ambassadors are clean-cut pros. Their external lives are managed with a fine-tooth comb. No miss-steps or miss-speaks. Perfectly manicured in style and substance. A caricature of a real person.

They’re your Beyonce’s, Lebron’s, David Beckham’s of the world.

And the moment these types of people do something off-script, they’re dumped. Any connection to the brand swiftly swept under the carpet.

With Snoop, what you see is what you get. He brings his full self to the role, the genuine Snoop Dogg. Warts, weed and all. If brands want him, they must know they’re getting 100% of him. The whole shebang.

“Companies that get down with me know how I get down. They know the extracurricular things I do… They have to accept all of that when you’re dealing with Snoop Dogg,” he said in a recent New York Times piece.

In a world where this level of authenticity is incredibly rare, Snoop stands out. He’s cool. Understated. Non-plussed. And when it’s supposed to be funny, he’s totally in on the joke.

This ability to stretch and flex across different genres allows him to stay the same old Snoop, no matter what he’s selling. And people love to see it. So brands love using him. It’s a cultural moment we can all enjoy.

Of course, he’s by no means the only celebrity ambassador that taps into this super-authentic style of advertorial. And the self-deprecating genre was basically created by Ozzy Osbourne, with plenty of other celebrities using it since (hello Paris Hilton).

But authenticity isn’t the only factor in Snoop’s rapid rise to brand ambassador guru. There’s something else at play.

The importance of brand fame

Brands fight over a piece of the Snoop pie because his unique blend of realness plus notoriety gives them an edge. In other words, they co-opt Snoop’s ubiquitous fame, to be famous themselves.

And why wouldn’t they? It’s a chance to stand out from the crowd, lift themselves out of the mundane and be the cool kid for a while. Even if they get noticed by people who will never be customers, there’s no ignoring the impact of fame on a brand. Just ask advertising industry legend Sir John Hegarty.

“One of the most profound and fundamental things you can say about the value of a brand is that it is made by people who will never buy it,” says Sir John.

So brands lean on Snoop for their own celebrity, which has an immediate positive impact by helping to boost sales. While also leaving a long tail of cultural relevance that endures even after the contract is up. Once a Snoop brand, always a Snoop brand.

In many ways Snoop is a shot in the arm when your brand needs to refocus, reposition or reintroduce itself. Plus, it shows your customers that if you can afford him, you’re probably doing things right. And oddly, that level of splurgeability builds trust.

There’s strength in numbers too

Any other celeb that stretches across a variety of brands would risk diluting their own brand. Confusing the story of who they are and what they stand for. Not to mention looking really greedy as they gobble up endless supplies of corporate cash to fuel their high-flying lifestyle.

With Snoop, the opposite is true. It’s more the merrier. And he’s not greedy, he’s a shrewd businessman. Playing, and in many ways, winning the ‘game’. You don’t have to be a fan of his music or his work, it’s still a good news story we can all appreciate.

Brands find comfort in the numbers too. Instead of the fear of being a Snoop Dogg copycat, they look to him as a proven, easily replicated formula to assert instant relevance. It’s not a risk. Everyone else is doing it, so we can too.

Snoop’s Petco work is just another in a long laundry list of brands looking for authenticity, fame and credibility through association. He’s the perfect brand ambassador because other celebrities just don’t have the same cultural impact as he does. Sure, there are more famous ones. And celebs with more complicated ‘extracurriculars’. But Snoop is the goldilocks of the lot. Just the right amount of cool to make a brand famous, without losing his edge along the way.

There’s no telling where he’ll bob up next. Whomever it’s for, it’ll be another cultural moment worth celebrating.

This article first appeared in Inside Retail

Alex Moore is Associate Director at XXVI.

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