By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: In the era of the celebrity chef, popularised by television shows such as MasterChef, many companies are turning to endorsements from well-known personalities as a marketing tool for brand awareness.

Daniel Bertuccio, marketing manager for Ilve cooking appliances, spoke to about the concept of brand ambassadorships, saying that a brand needs much more than a famous face to entice consumers.

“I still believe a brand should sit on its own merits," Bertuccio said. "A good brand will always be a good brand whether it has a personality associated with it or not. It’s very much up to the brand and the actual product to do its own marketing.

“Obviously you need to get out there and you need to advertise, but I don’t think that having a brand ambassador is an extremely integral part of getting a brand name out there. If you’re an upmarket brand, you market towards a particular audience and I think a brand like ours definitely speaks for itself.”

Ilve has recently refurbished its showroom in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt, and the company is planning a dedicated launch event with renowned chef Giovanni Pilu of Sydney’s Pilu at Freshwater.

However, Bertuccio insists that Pilu’s involvement in the event (which will see him giving cooking demonstrations on Ilve appliances) is not a celebrity tick of approval, but rather a symbiotic relationship between the chef and the Ilve brand.

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“He’s not on board on a permanent level, but we use him when we need to and he uses us when he needs to, and that’s as far as we go,” Bertuccio said. “It’s a very good relationship, but we have an understanding that there’s no sort of endorsement or ambassadorship happening.”

“It’s something that we’re very much not a fan of as a company – we like to very much be able to do what we want, when we want. It’s not a matter of us not being able to sign anyone up, but it’s a matter of us not wanting to do that.

“Again, we believe that our brand speaks for itself. We don’t need paid endorsements to get our message across, we have ads that do that very well for us and a strong marketing campaign that backs that up.

“If the brand is good, it will always be good whether you have endorsement or not, and it just depends on its own merits to make it popular or not.”