What Motivates a Celebrity to Say “Yes!”

What Rita Tateel taught me about the celebrity public relations business.

By Stella Galli

DALLAS – If you know me, you know that the one thing I am on top of is celebrity gossip. At my first internship at JMG Public Relations, I was introduced to working on celebrity brand partnership projects and instantly became obsessed with the idea of working with celebrities in the public relations field. Therefore, when I saw that there was a professional development session at ICON with the President of Celebrity Source, an agency that supports celebrity booking companies, I quickly signed up.

Rita Tateel is well-known for getting celebrities to say yes – the single-most challenging thing to get celebrities to do. But how does she do it? After attending her informational session, here were some of my biggest takeaways on how to do so:

Make sure the celebrity knows what’s in it for them. This is the first thing that the celebrity will want to know – how will this benefit them? Sometimes, money is not a big enough motivator. For celebrities who are already very wealthy, a $100,000 payout won’t mean that much to them. Be sure to connect what you are asking them to do has a more meaningful purpose to their overall brand, purpose, or interests. So, what are some of the things you can tie into this?

  1. Media exposure. Media exposure is a great way to motivate two different kinds of celebrities: celebrities who are up and coming (on the rise) or down and going (used to have lots of exposure and are starting to be forgotten in the public eye).
  2. Personal interests. When it comes to persuading celebrities by bringing a hobby they love to do into the equation, Rita specifically said almost no celebrity will turn down one thing: golf! She has been able to sway celebrities to attend events for just a few minutes, take some photos, answer some questions by pointing out that the celebrity can go golfing after. 
  3. Perks and gifts. To put it quite simply: celebrities are humans. What do humans love? Gifts. As Rita explained, gifting nearly always works. 
  4. Connecting it to their hometown. When the celebrity feels a sense of connection that brings them back to their roots, they feel more compelled to be a part of it. Rita explained that when they were curating celebrities to be a part of the “Don’t Mess With Texas” littering campaign, celebrities born and raised in Texas were excited to be a part of it. 

While Rita shared all of these key influences to get a celebrity to say yes, she also gave us beyond compelling insight into the celebrities’ psychology, as well as what to avoid when trying to secure a celebrity.

Thank you to Rita and ICON for a thought-provoking session!

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