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Barry C Hunt's haircut economics: The Z-list endorsement

As The Apprentice character promotes his barber shop with life-sized photograph and his name over the door, we ask: what counts as a celebrity endorsement these days?

ALRIGHT, BABES? ONE of the more high-profile contestants on this year’s Irish version of The Apprentice is cashing in on his fleeting fame with a new business venture.

Barry ‘C for Caesar’ Hunt – the man who told TV3 viewers that there is one thing that can’t be taught, and that’s experience – has opened a barber’s shop in Blanchardstown, Dublin. We had wind of this when an ad appeared on Gumtree.ie on November 29 last. In it, Hunt advertised for a “stylish barber” for his “trendy new shop” with the proviso that applicants be “super stylish/trendy themselves”.

Barry C Hunt's haircut economics: The Z-list endorsement
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  • Barber by Barry

    The WestEnd Barber shopfront is pasted with images of Apprentice Barry C Hunt.
  • Barber by Barry

    Barry Caesar Hunt gives the barber shop business his stamp of approval.
  • Barber by Barry

    To be fair, Barry seems to know his way about a pot of hair gel.

From our pictures, it’s clear that the shop in the Westend village is hoping to pull in the punters by association with Hunt. The shop sign, The WestEnd Barber is almost dwarfed by the addendum, ‘By Barry Caesar Hunt’.  The front door is flanked by a full-length poster photograph of Hunt in his Apprentice gear to the left and a smaller one to the right.

While we enjoy Hunt’s hair today, hopefully not gone tomorrow foray into fame, we have to ask: How famous do you have to be to cash in on it? Is Barry’s name alone enough to boost the barber business?

It’s a similar marketing conundrum when faced with Dragon’s Den resident grump Gavin Duffy fronting a marketing campaign for fake tan. A product supported by Duffy in the RTE programme, TanOrganic, has had the ‘benefit’ of being endorsed by the Dragon himself in a television advert. (Mind you, the model used to showcase the product on Dragon’s Den did “keel over” during the hour-long interview, as its creator Noelle O’Connor confirmed so perhaps she wasn’t available). We have no doubt that TanOrganic is a super product and that Duffy is an astute businessman but, aesthetically, does the combination work?

Barry C Hunt might be making haircuts while the sun shines, but how much power does a Z-list celebrity endorsement actually have? We expect to see a top star like Beyonce pop her booty for perfume and soft drinks, but Mr T doing a George Foreman-lite for mini-cookers? Please, sucker.

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