Happy Birthday to Terry Wogan KBE, 71 years old today!

Revered as a British national treasure despite being Irish, Terry is one of our best loved and most loathed celebrities.
Rising to fame in the 1960s on Irish radio and subsequently Radio One, he moved to the smooth sounds of Radio Two in the early 1970s. He even released a single of his own and annoyingly, one of my earliest memories is of bopping around to Terry’s smash hit “The Floral Dance”. Thankfully Terry’s career in music-making was short-lived and he went on to become the face of his own TV chat show, Children In Need and of course your friend and mine, The Eurovision Song Contest.

Clearly, his long career in Radio and TV has made him extremely well known. And being so recognisable, both audibly and visually, it’s arguable he’s almost succeeded in becoming a brand in his own right.

But can a person be a brand? Or just a celebrity? Part of a brand’s image is its persona as embodied in human form, via likes, dislikes, gender, wealth, age, mood, status and more.

If we’re debating whether Mr Wogan has therefore become a brand, what does his brand represent? He’s Irish, obviously, and probably bald, but ‘Hello Magazine’ has yet to publish the photographs. He’s certainly an irreverent comedian, sarcastic too. He’s managed to position himself as a kindly uncle who’s fun and interesting to listen to (apparently) and yet also appeals to the grumpy-old-man, chiming with the Victor Meldrew streak alive in many of us. But I’m not convinced he’s a brand, to me he’s just a minor celebrity.

At the other end of the scale we have the Beckhams. They ooze glamour, style, wealth, vitality and sex. Cleverly, they entice us with their wholesome family image as well. You can buy Beckham branded products as their scent and clothes ranges have been launched around the world. For many, this allows us the opportunity to be them for just a moment… Back to my question, can people be brands? Surely if anyone can, the Beckhams are a good example?

As consumers, we have relationships with brands everyday via the products and services we choose. The strongest brands pop into our minds through association. For example, the mention of ‘family entertainment’ conjures up Disney for most of us. But a brand can also be a symbol like the Nike swoosh or the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle.

So can anyone actually be their own brand as opposed to being the face of a brand?

I guess that’s open for discussion.

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