Mike Heller, CEO and founder of Talent Resources, is one of the people who stands on the sidelines while we scroll through social media in our celebrity obsessed culture. Many influencers are hired to endorse countless products on social media, and nobody knows the intimate details involved in the relationship between brands and influencers. However, Heller is one of the few that does know. The goal of Heller's company is to connect influencers and brands in a logical, and essential method.
Heller is a former lawyer who specialized in entertainment law, mainly creating contracts for endorsement deals for celebrities. He founded Talent Resources almost half a decade ago while working with Lindsey Lohan. He noticed consumers paying close attention to noteworthy celebrity tabloid depictions, mainly to the extent of what kind of dress they were wearing, what brand, and even what type of coffee they were drinking.
Heller recognized that these celebrities could profit off the brands they were already using in their daily lives, this was almost 15 years ago, and Heller was single-handedly responsible for creating a new way of marketing. Heller was at the forefront of the marketing tactic that would capitalize off brands that celebrities were already using, so why not have them get paid for endorsing what they already use?
He noticed that when photographers were taking pictures of celebrities like Lindsey Lohan, they would all inquire as to what she was wearing, what she was drinking, and what kind of skincare product she was using. Heller represented Lohan, and he was able to ascertain the large amount of interest into what products she was using. Everything came together during Mariah Carey's Grammar party in 2006 when Heller was approached by my numerous reps, asking what he can do for them in terms of branding. He proposed that the phone company LG sponsor the event, and it was a tremendous hit as Mariah Carey did a video invitation using an LG phone. After this, Heller realized the enormous business potential for connecting celebrities to the right brands. This would have a giant impact on the industry, as seen in contemporary times.
When Heller was approached by Lohan to organize her 20th birthday party, he arranged for Life & Style magazine and Fiji Water to sponsor the event, and this was the beginning of something extraordinary- it is easy to say that Heller was a pioneer for connecting celebrities to appropriate brands that consumers could identify with.
Heller and Lohan proceeded to do many more deals together, and Heller realized the power of tying a celebrity to a brand. He arranged a deal with Miu Miu, Jill Stuart, and even convinced Lohan to stop smoking with the use of Ariva, a smokeless tobacco product. It was visible for all paparazzi to see as Lohan always had Ariva in her hand. The beauty of this was that nobody knew it was planned, as writers continued to scrutinize her actions in articles, putting the product name in their pieces to further the brand. Heller says that it is much more efficient and cost effective to have a celebrity promote a brand via their lifestyle, as opposed to traditional advertising.
In the midst of working with Lohan, Heller kept his values in place- when Lohan had an alcohol problem, he refused to work with any and all alcoholic products. Heller was instrumental in helping Lohan gain monetary success through his methods, and even though she works with an agency now, she always praises Heller for his introduction to monetizing off celebrity endorsements.
Talent Resources sets up brick-and-mortar destinations where celebrities congregate, the Super Bowl and Fashion Week are just a few examples. Heller set up a house in Malibu this summer for a fifth consecutive year to serve as a beautiful location to source events for Talent Resources. Heller hosted an event for "Dancing With the Stars" and had every product the participants needed, from brand name water to beer, Heller had it all. Heller doesn't like to be blatant about his product placement and promotion, but rather subtle with innuendos. Talent Resources serves every angle of the industry, from managers, agents, and the celebrities themselves. He always makes it a point of emphasis for those he works with to benefit from his services, as repeat customers are very significant to his business.
Heller doesn't like to take credit for his work, but rather watch on the sidelines and let the brands get the credit- Heller is a trailblazer for product placement.