Starting an iPhone Application Business for DummiesIn his book, ‘Starting an iPhone Application Business for Dummies,’ Aaron Nicholson, Joel Elad and Damien Stolarz tell how to get celebrity endorsements for iPhone and Android apps…

“One sure fire way to gain attention (and maybe even some notoriety) is to have some high-profile people endorse and recommend your iPhone application. You may think that a celebrity endorsement is only good for a consumer product, but it’s not so! Today, celebrities and opinion leaders are actively using the Internet and technology to speak directly to their fan bases, so it’s credible and likely that the endorsements would ring true.

This method of publicity comes with some drawbacks:

  • You have to deal with the needs and image of high-profile individuals and their employees
  • You may have all sorts of red tape as ten different people (perhaps with some attorneys in that mix) demand pre-approval for any marketing material featuring their client’s image or words on it.
  • Your fate also becomes somewhat tied to the person in question, which means your application could suffer some ‘guilt by association’ if the high-profile individual does something unpleasant or unpopular.

The buying public is keenly aware of what their celebrities are up to, thanks to the Internet, video clips, and TV (to name a few sources of information). Heck, we all want to be celebrities so much so that Apaln wrote an iPhone app called ‘iCover’ that can superimpose your picture on a fake magazine cover to make you look like a celebrity.


Meanwhile, back in the real world (or something like it), celebrity recommendations can be very effective. You can still see the effect that a celebrity recommendation can have by taking note of some of the billboards you might drive by, or on the cover of a magazine you might walk past. This type of effect extends to the iPhone application market as well.

A ‘celebrity’ can be any person who has built up a distinctive audience of people who follow what that person is doing and thinking. Some could say that Michael Arrington is a ‘celebrity’ of the startup world because of the TechCrunch blog that he runs, which has millions of readers. Justine Ezarik goes by the name iJustine and has become an Internet ‘celebrity’ with over 600,000 followers on Twitter and hundreds of thousands of downloads of her videos from YouTube.

In some cases, contacting celebrities (or their ‘people,’ as in ‘have your people call my people’) with a request, press release, or note with a promotional code, is enough to get them to try your application and hopefully provide a testimonial or recommendation. In some cases, the celebrity may want compensation. It’s up to you to decide whether that recommendation is worth the compensation or not. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Pick the people who will appeal to your target market. If you’ve got a hot new gaming application, you probably won’t want to pursue the hosts of ‘Project Runway’ or any other lifestyle TV show (unless that’s what your game is specifically about). Instead, you may want to attempt to recruit folks like Olivia Munn, co-host of the G4 cable network program ‘Attack of the Show.’ Imagine if you got her endorsement and it was included in the broadcast.
  • Be prepared to write up a few quotes and allow them or their team to choose the one you can use in your promotional efforts. Often those quotes you read endorsing someone’s book or product were not uttered by the celebrity, but rather, were drafter by the person seeking the quote – and the celebrity agreed or signed off on the quote (you know that – right?). Many of these people are very busy and do not have the time to write their own material, even endorsements. You have to get permission, of course; don’t put words in anyone’s mouth unless you asked and they agreed. First.
  • Instead of just an endorsement, find out how to partner with or work directly with a celebrity for their business. When he’s not busy acting in TV shows like ‘Heroes’ or ‘Lost,’ or filming movies like ‘Cloverfield,’ actor Greg Grunberg has another passion: encouraging people to download Yowza, a new iPhone application that he helped create. Yowza helps you get mobile coupons by tracking your location through the iPhone’s built-in GPS and bringing you deals from the network of merchants that Yowza has put together to offer you deals and coupons. The offer shows up on your iPhone, and the merchant can scan the barcode from your iPhone screen to get you the deal. Grunberg uses his blog, Twitter feed, and any other publicity he can generate to help puss the app into the hands of new customers.
  • But it’s impossible to contact a celebrity, right? Wrong. Many celebrities make a sizable percentage of their income from endorsements. That means that entrepreneurs like you are their customers, not just adoring fans to be flicked away like flies. There are even services which help you make your endorsement pitch. Try these resources to start your search:
  • Celeb Brokers – 310-268-1476
  • Celebrity Endorsement Network – 818-225-7090
  • Contact Any Celebrity
  • Sponsored Tweets
  • Hollywood Branded