Henry Winkler Reverse Mortgage? Fred Thompson Reverse Mortgage? Why Do Celebrities Pitch Reverse Mortgages?
If you’ve never seen a reverse mortgage commercial featuring the familiar face of a celebrity, you’re probably in the minority. Reverse Mortgage lenders have long elected to work with famous faces to help them get the word out about reverse mortgage products.
It’s a common practice. Baby boomer celebrities represent brands across all product and service types from Jamie Lee Curtis for Activa yogurt and Sally Field for a drug designed to prevent bone loss to Chuck Norris and his ab machine infomercials.
The finding is that celebrities of different types can help develop brand recognition, and possibly, drive sales.
The Henry Winkler Reverse Mortgage and the Fred Thompson Reverse Mortgage
The reverse mortgage industry has a long history of reverse mortgage celebrity spokesmen and spokeswomen promoting reverse mortgage information. From “The Fonz” to Robert Wagner, actors and other celebrities have been employed by lenders to help get the word out about these financial products, and the benefits they can offer to people who qualify for them.
Currently, there are several big-name celebrities associated with reverse mortgages.
- Henry Winkler a.k.a. “The Fonz.” Known for his role as The Fonz in the 1970s TV series Happy Days, Henry Winkler has appeared in reverse mortgage commercials and marketing materials for One Reverse Mortgage, a division of Quicken Loans. Winkler maintains an active acting career and has recently appeared in Parks and Recreation and Arrested Development.
- Sen. Fred Thompson. Former Senator Fred Thompson is known for his political career as well as his acting career. Sen. Thompson has long appeared in the ongoing series Law and Order and continues to act in TV and movie productions. He’s also known for his representation of reverse mortgages for American Advisors Group; a private reverse mortgage lender based in California.
- Robert Wagner. Touting a long career in acting including recent appearances on Two and a Half Men and NCIS, Wagner is best known for his roles in It Takes a Thief, Switch and Hart to Hart. He has represented several reverse mortgage brands in the past including Urban Financial and Senior Lending Network, and is still often associated with reverse mortgages in media coverage and references.
Why Do Celebrities Endorse Products?
Celebrities work in a youth obsessed industry where the focus is on glamor, beauty and success. So, it can be an interesting twist on a star’s cache when they decide to endorse a product associated with aging.
Often, celebrities have little to do with the products they represent. Their image alone is enough to prompt a company to sign a major contract and trust that there’s some positive impact to the brand.
But in the case of some reverse mortgage spokesmen, the celebrities do have some experience with the product. Sen. Thompson’s mother took out a reverse mortgage when she was seeking financial stability during her retirement, he has said in interviews. “I didn’t sit down and say: ‘Let me pursue an endorsement contract,’” Thompson has said. “…It was a business deal, but I wouldn’t have done that business deal had I not been sold on the product.”
Similarly, Henry Winkler has said his father-in-law had a reverse mortgage, leading to his personal experience with the product.
Whether you like the celebrities or not, you’re bound to see them on TV representing reverse mortgages. It might be reassuring to know that some of these celebrities are very familiar with the products, from personal experiences with their family or friends.
Do Celebrity Endorsements Work for Reverse Mortgages?
There is not a substantial amount of concrete evidence linking celebrity endorsements to product sales, and yet companies spend millions of dollars each year to establish and develop these partnerships.
But a 2012 Harvard Business School (HBS) study finds a link between athletic endorsements and sales, as well as endorsements and stock performance for public companies. “… a firm’s decision to enlist an athlete endorser generally has a positive pay-off in brand-level sales – in an absolute sense and relative to the firm’s competitors – and increases the firm’s stock returns,” HBS writes in its conclusion.
Sales were found to increase by 4% under the study, with stock performance increasing 0.25%. HBS also found a company’s market share in its product category was improved by its use of celebrity spokesmen.
Other studies have been less conclusive, but it hasn’t deterred companies from continuing to work with celebrities to represent their brands.
In the case of reverse mortgages, it probably helps to have a familiar face explaining what can be a very confusing and misunderstood product.
Should You Trust the Celebrity Endorsement?
In a word, no. No, you should not trust a celebrity endorsement. Sure, Winkler and Thompson both have personal experience with reverse mortgages, however, every situation is unique. You should research reverse mortgage information on your own and talk with experts about whether this is a good decision for you and your particular circumstances.
While there are many downsides to a reverse mortgage, the product can also be a huge benefit for the right borrowers. If you want to stay in your home and you would like to either eliminate monthly mortgage payments and/or gain access to cash, then a reverse mortgage might be right for you.