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Using A Spokesperson?

12022006_02_2 Who Is Lauren Bishop?

by Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

I live in Des Moines, Iowa.  About 25 miles to our northwest is the city of Boone.  Many may recognize this at the birthplace of Mamie Doud Eisenhower.  It is also home to a 77 year old family run furniture store, by the name of Redeker's.  It is a fine store and one that I've visited several times over the years.  I may have even made a purchase or two there.

Redeker's advertises in the Des Moines market.  I have seen their newspaper ads and listened to their radio ads for years.  (I pay attention to that sort of stuff...I'm in advertising.) Included in their advertising campaigns over the years has been "Lauren Bishop" a very attractive woman who has graced their Des Moines Register newspaper ads (click on the image above) and is the voice I hear on the radio.  "Come see us!" she says in print and on the air.

This past Sunday I was in my office reading the paper and saw their full page ad.  And, yep, there was Lauren.  I was intrigued.  "Who is Lauren Bishop?" I asked myself.  I went on-line to their website.  And there was Lauren on just about every page and she was clearly identified in italics: Lauren Bishop.  Who is she?  An owner?  The top sales person?  A famous sports person (that I may not know)?  A furniture designer?  A home interior master?  I was now on a mission.

I did a Google search on her name.  I found lots of Lauren Bishops:  There is the illustrator from the United Kingdom, an actor from Chicago, (or an actor from Chicago) a writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer,a self described "Teenage Blogging Queen", a professor from Ball State University even a 19 year old from Nortonville, KY.  None of the "Lauren Bishop" pretenders were the striking brunette in the ad.  Huh?

So, I sent an e-mail to the store and asked, "Who is Lauren Bishop?"  I got a reply that said she was indeed, "A spokesperson for Redeker's as she has been for many years."  I learned that she, " based out of Memphis, but does visit our store several times throughout the year."  John ended his message with Lauren's words, "...come up and see us." 

I closed my eyes and thought of the disconnect.  I guess I don't get it.  I recently blogged about the fact that people still buy from people.  I believe that.  But do they buy from a person who other than lending a voice and a photo has very little to do with the business?  Maybe.  Spokespeople abound.  I have several friends who do this for a living...but most of them are local, regional or national figures.  Lauren is...cute. 

The point to this rant is if you use an identified spokesperson you may want to make sure that he/she is "famous", "has something to do with the business", is "well known in the area" or is at least "attractive". out of four.