Selecting brand aligned icons, from challengers and rule breakers, to leaders, beloved athletes, musicians and movie stars, can be heavy work, plus it can be a little daunting to navigate the licensing process from a creative perspective. So why should advertisers and brand owners continue to go down this route?

Associating your brand with an icon who, in their lifetime, had an authentic association with a product, can have a lasting and truly profound effect on consumers. There is an immediate trust in the association. 

If we look at Marilyn Monroe and Chanel, or Steve McQueen and Tag Heuer, the icon and the brand are synonymous with each other and therefore have formed long term partnerships which can be of emotional value to a brand or product, and by extension, the consumer. You think of the brand and you think of the icon. Icons can effectively move brand stories forward.

The icon provides a mental shortcut in the mind of the buyer or ad viewer. An almost instant upload of the values associated with that icon is translated immediately into the advertised product or brand currency. Therefore it’s crucial to get an icon/brand fit right.

‘Icon’ inherently stands for those with the most powerful attributes: Albert Einstein IS the Smartest, Steve McQueen IS the King of Cool, Muhammad Ali IS The Greatest, Andy Warhol  IS the most Savvy Creative, Marilyn Monroe THE screen legend, Martin Luther King THE civil rights champion. 

An icon provides a brand with stability and security as their core values are less likely to be shattered by modern day “scandals.” Their behaviour is fixed in time. They provide little to no reputational risk to a brand.  Icons are timeless, and their legacy continues to impact our society of today.

In a crowded marketplace, differentiation is key Icons distinct brand values and attributes quickly communicate a brand or products’ value proposition and positioning to consumers, if positioned meaningfully and authentically.

To license icons for advertising or products see