Pickstar's Top 10 Brand Ambassadors

As an industry leader in talent activation, Pickstar has scanned the marketing landscape to collate a list featuring 10 of our favourite brand ambassadorships from the past 12 months.

The list boasts a wide variety of companies who have partnered with celebrity comedians, sporting royalty, and Hollywood superstars alike to create memorable and engaging advertising campaigns.

It’s no wonder why these ambassadorships made the cut, with each perfectly displaying the way that well crafted content, a specified message, strategic timing, and the right fit between brand and star can lead to meaningful partnerships that both appeal to consumers and bolster brand credibility.

Want to learn more about how brand ambassadorships work? Read Pickstar’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Brand Ambassadorships’.

Without further ado, here are 10 of Pickstar’s favourite brand ambassadors.

Daniel Ricciardo - Optus

Known by fans as ‘The Honey Badger’, loveable larrikin Daniel Ricciardo is renowned for his cheeky sense of humour, beaming smile and iconic podium celebration, the ‘shoey’. But underneath that smile is a fierce competitor with the skills to rival the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Having endeared himself to F1 fans around the world throughout his time both on and off the track, Daniel Ricciardo’s status as one the most beloved drivers in the sport has only been compounded with the roaring success of Netflix’s behind-the-scenes F1 series, ‘Drive to Survive’.

With Daniel Ricciardo being Australia’s sole representative in one of the world’s most lucrative sporting organisations, Aussie telco giant Optus made the savvy decision to partner with Ricciardo, announcing the speedster as the company’s ‘Chief Optimism Officer’ in November 2020. Leveraging Ricciardo’s fan appeal in branded advertising and giveaways on both Optus and Ricciardo’s social media accounts, the iconic Optus ‘Yes’ has taken pride of place on the McLaren driver’s race helmet in 2021, being worn to a classy victory at the Italian Grand Prix in September.

What Pickstar loves about this ambassadorship is the way Optus has been able to use Ricciardo’s affable charm to spread wholesome fun and positivity through his symbolic role as Chief Optimism Officer, and their clever outlining of speed and performance as mutual attributes.

Daniel ricciardo
F1 star Daniel Ricciardo for Optus

Hamish Blake & Zöe Foster-Blake - Tourism Australia

Aussie entertainment darling Hamish Blake and author/entrepreneur Zöe Foster-Blake make up one of Australia’s most recognisable couples.

Together they were tasked by Tourism Australia with encouraging Australians to ‘Holiday Here This Year’, and support local tourism operators and communities facing the strain caused by the COVID-19 outbreak which ravaged the industry. Through an advert focused on discovering “an even bigger’ ‘big thing’” than Ballina’s iconic Big Prawn, the duo were shown visiting several vast and stunning holiday locations around the country, including the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory, Otway National Park in Victoria, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, and The Kimberly in Western Australia.

Pickstar believes that the effortless humour and relatability of this power couple make them the perfect ambassadors for this campaign, and in conjunction with State government incentives for domestic travel, it provided everyday Aussie’s the perfect timing for the much needed push to consider exploring their own backyards in 2021.

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Hamish Blake & Zöe Foster-Blake for Tourism Australia

Abbie Chatfield - Canesten Australia

Abbie Chatfield took Australian televisions by storm as the runner-up on The Bachelor in 2019. Since then, she has asserted herself as Australia’s queen of social media, showcasing her hilarious and down-to-earth personality to a legion of fans across Instagram and TikTok, as well as hosting the popular podcast “It’s A Lot with Abbie Chatfield”, where she dives deep into a number of often taboo subjects including mental and sexual health.

With the ability to empower her listeners to own their bodies and kick shame to the curb, Chatfield presented as the ultimate ambassador for Canesten Australia’s “The University of Down Under” digital campaign, devised to promote vagina literacy amongst Gen-Z women. Developed for the Canesten Australia website, Chatfield hosts the interactive video series designed to help empower young Aussie women to acknowledge and take control of their intimate health, bringing her trademark sense of humour and charm along the way.

Pickstar sees this campaign and Abbie Chatfield’s involvement as both a brand ambassador and educator as a prime example of combining engaging content and a meaningful message with a star whose values are in perfect alignment with the brand.

Abbie chatfield
Abbie Chatfield for Canesten Australia

Li Cunxin - Apia Insurance

There aren’t many with a more remarkable story than Li Cunxin.

Born into a life of abject poverty within the People’s Republic of China under the rule of Mao Zedong, Li’s incredible ascension to ballet stardom in both the US (where he defected to) and Australia captured hearts around the world, and was further spurred on by Li’s best-selling autobiography and feature film adaptation of the same name, “Mao’s Last Dancer”. Now at age 60, after accomplished careers both in dancing and as a stockbroker, Li is showing no sign of slowing down, reigniting his passion for ballet as the Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet.

It was because of Li’s inspiring passion for life that Australian seniors insurance agency Apia chose him as one of three amazing Aussie ambassadors to tell their story about retirement, in order to emphasise the point that retiring doesn’t always mean slowing down. In one ad starring Li, he is shown gracefully pirouetting around his house, and in another he speaks about his thoughts on ageing. He states that whether you feel younger or older as you age is a mental attitude, dependent on inspiration, aspiration, motivation and positivity.

The combination of this powerful message and its wonderful source is what makes Pickstar love this ambassadorship. Utilising one of our most admired adopted Aussie’s in Li Cunxin to inspire fellow Australian seniors is a brilliant example of how an ambassadorship is able to meaningfully display the values of a company.

Li Cunxin
Li Cunxin for Apia Insurance

Mark Wahlberg - Ladbrokes

Gambling companies have become known for their funny and often absurd advertising, as well as their ability to recruit big names to help promote their businesses.

Ladbrokes’ 2021 ‘Ladbroke It’ campaign is no exception, with Hollywood superstar Mark Wahlberg starring as the company’s fictional new ‘Chief Excitement Officer’, Mike Iceberg. With his over the top character on a wild and wonderful mission to make racing more exciting, Wahlberg’s comedy skills shine as he terrorises the Ladbrokes office and their employees with enthusiasm and fanfare in order to ‘Ladbroke the action’ and ultimately ‘Ladbroke the world’.

Pickstar sees Ladbrokes’ decision to partner with Wahlberg ambassador as a great example of aligning with the right star, as it has allowed them to appeal to their desired target demographic of males aged between 20-30, a very similar target demographic for Wahlberg’s films.

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Mark Wahlberg for Ladbrokes

Logan Martin - LEGO

Although already renowned in the Freestyle BMX world, it took a scintillating gold medal winning run at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to catapult Logan Martin to household name status around Australia.

Fresh off the back of his Olympic glory and amid a range of other lucrative partnerships, Martin partnered with iconic toy manufacturer LEGO to launch their new ‘City Stuntz’ sets, featuring monster trucks, ramps, and a whole lot of excitement.

What makes this ambassadorship work so well is the combination of timing and aligning with the right star. Freestyle BMX making its Olympic debut at the COVID delayed 2020 Tokyo Games was representative of the continual inclusion of popular culture and street sport events, helping the games target youth audiences around the world.

Martin’s domination of the event meant that a young, excited and impressionable audience were familiarising themselves with his laidback style and jaw-dropping tricks, making LEGO’s decision to use Martin and his epic backyard BMX course as the backdrop for their new ‘City Stuntz’ toy set a brilliant choice to appeal his flock of new fans.

Logan martin
Logan Martin for LEGO

Nick Kyrgios - Old El Paso

Aussie tennis phenom Nick Kyrgios is renowned for his flair both on and off the court. But it's another court altogether where the mega-talented star has found himself in Old El Paso’s 2021 edition of their #MessFreeChallenge, displaying the mess free quality of their Tortilla Pockets.

Kyrgios had appeared in Old El Paso’s 2020 #MessFreeChallenge campaign, showing off his trademark circus-style tennis shots in one hand without spilling the Tortilla Pocket in the other. But in this year's version of the challenge he swapped the tennis racquet for a basketball, wowing his 1.7 million Instagram followers with a #MessFree slam dunk. The challenge which was conducted in partnership with charity Foodbank Australia went viral, and inspired former and current NBA superstars such as Tony Parker, Andre Drummond and Andrew Wiggins to follow suit, raising much needed awareness for food insecurity in Australia.

The brilliance of this campaign comes from combining Kyrgios’ two greatest passions outside of tennis, basketball and supporting those less fortunate. For the campaign, Kyrgios committed 30,000 Old El Paso Tortilla Pocket Kits through his NK Foundation to Foodbank Australia, with one kit donated for every share of Kyrgios’ slam dunk, and 10 kits donated for every fan that posted their own version of the #MessFreeChallenge.

A fun and entertaining way to help those in need? What isn’t there to love about this brand ambassadorship?

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Nick Kyrgios for Old El Paso

Ryley Batt - Toyota

Wheelchair sports are far from glamorous. The grit, intensity and determination required is personified by its competitors, and is the reason why so many people tune in to watch our incredible wheelchair athletes when they compete.

Ryley Batt is the embodiment of these qualities. The Australian Wheelchair Rugby star has competed at a national level since he was 15 years old, winning a Paralympic silver medal in Beijing, and gold medals in London and Rio.

A month prior to being honoured as Australia’s flag bearer at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony, Batt appeared on Australian screens in a national campaign for Toyota titled ‘Breaking Point’. Through the fierce action and the moody set lit by Toyota car headlights, viewers are given a taste of just how physically demanding wheelchair rugby is. After he and his wheelchair are smashed around in the contest, the innovative Toyota Product Planning and Development team are shown designing the ultimate wheels for Batt to excel in his sport, a real-life partnership that occurred in the lead up to the 2020 Paralympic Games of which Toyota was a major sponsorship partner.

The premium timing of this ambassadorship alongside the powerful imagery and themes make this a favourite of Pickstar’s in 2021. Choosing an icon of wheelchair rugby in Ryley Batt to promote Toyota’s message of ‘Mobility for all’ is a gold-medal worthy partnership.

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Ryley Batt for Toyota

Sam Kerr - Commonwealth Bank

In just a single decade, Sam Kerr has ascended to dizzying heights in the world of international football, the likes of which have rarely been seen for an Aussie player. As the star striker of both her country and English football behemoth Chelsea FC, she has quickly become one of the faces of the game and continues to inspire the next generation of football talent at home and abroad with her astounding skills and trademark backflip goal celebration.

In the wake of a memorable 2020 Tokyo Olympic campaign and with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Australian & New Zealand fast approaching, Commonwealth Bank chose to partner with Kerr as an official brand ambassador to help drive the growth of women’s football around Australia. The announcement followed Commonwealth Bank winning the naming rights for the Commonwealth Bank Matildas and their junior teams, injecting millions of dollars into women’s grassroots football initiatives.

With Kerr currently being one of the most bankable names in Australian and world sport, and the continual emergence of the women’s game at home as a ratings powerhouse, Commonwealth Bank’s decision to partner with Sam Kerr as a brand ambassador couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Sam Kerr in action for the Matildas

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