A series of ads using successful and popular Olympic Athletes shows the the risks of using a great Athlete in your ads. And the importance of great casting to make an idea work. Or writing an ad to meet the limitations and strengths of that individual is of paramount importance.
Dame Kelly Holmes, won 2 Gold medals at the Athens Olympics for the UK and became a major hero in the UK. She still holds a soft spot in the heart of the UK population.
So using her to endorse the importance of eating breakfast (a social message to say everyone performs better if they eat breakfast), and then saying Kellogg's cereals are great must have seemed like a very good idea.
I am sure she must have been a costly sign-up. But a great Athlete is a great Athlete. They are not automatically a great performer and actor. SO, in my view and many others based on comments, is that her acting is cardboard and uncomfortable. It distracts from the message, as you focus on the acting. It is less compelling.
It just goes to show how important casting is to make an idea work and credible.
OR. If you really want to use a great Olympian to endorse your product understand them and their acting constraints and write to their strengths and weaknesses.
Kelloggs & Dame Kelly Holmes: Skip Breakfast & You may Miss out on Fuel for your Brain
Take these more recent examples of using an Olympian Athlete
Tom Daley: UK Olympian Diver. One Good and One Bad
Nestle: Get set Go Free Activities using UK Diver Tom Daley
Tom is cheeky and friendly. But this ad again distracts as they have him trying to perform a highly complex acting and interactive move. Something even experienced actors would struggle with. You focus on his actions not the message
Adidas Tom Daley: Take The Stage
However, Adidas (who probably understand sportsmen better and their strengths and weaknesses) created an ad for London 2012 which uses his life story, which si well known on how he lost his Dad and dedicates his sport to his memory, and focuses on the diving without acting and a voice over. It works so much better as the acting does not distract from any message.
Gillette also understood better how to use their Olympian: Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy endorses Gillette. He is Scottish with an accent, and is a charming but fairly serious guy when you safe him in media. So they show him competing and using the product, and gave him a voice over to record. This gives more flexibility and opportunity to play to his strengths. You don't focus on his performance as an actor - but the message more.
Also take a look at my posting: London 2012 Olympics Official Brand Partner Ads: Which are Good? Which are Bad?