Country legend Dolly Parton signs on to promote more sugary treats, a win-win for celebrity marketing

The country icon has seen millions of dollars come her way for her songwriting, her Dollywood theme park and various endorsement deals for corporate products.
Dolly Parton has gained a number of celebrity endorsement deals in recent years.
Posted at 9:14 PM, May 15, 2024

In one of her latest celebrity endorsement deals, country superstar Dolly Parton has signed on to partner with doughnut brand Krispy Kreme to get customers into stores to buy brightly colored Dolly-inspired sugary treats — along with other products that the brand sells. It's one of the latest in a number of deals in which brands love to match up with big names with little controversy to sell products, and it's made celebrities like Parton rich.

The country legend has made a significant portion of her $440 million net worth from deals like these, Forbes said. While a large part of that money comes from the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee theme park she invested in back in the mid-1980s, she has also been using her sweet demeanor to help sell desserts.

Parton has been notably apolitical in her interviews, and tries not to venture into serious advocacy on major issues if she can help it. If she is caught in a political snare question, she usually climbs out of it with humor, like when she said, "I try not to get political but if I am, I might as well just run myself 'cause I've got the hair for it," in an interview with Country Living.

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It's made her a prime celebrity pick for marketers, and for selling cakes, Melissa Gouty said in an analysis for Better Marketing's Medium page. Gouty said, "The reason marketers look to connect famous people with their products is because businesses make money from celebrity endorsements. Lots of it."

This year Conagra Brands hired Parton for a multiyear partnership to promote Duncan Hines boxed cake mixes, complete with marketing showing the entertainer in a studio kitchen with a counter full of pink boxes of the different cake mixes for sale in the product lineup.

The chief operating officer at Conagra Brands, Tom McGough, said the celebrity endorsement deal would "authentically" position the brand "for tremendous growth" in categories like "Southern cooking and comfort food."

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And it has helped Parton position herself among some of the highest-paid country artists, accordingto multiple analysis lists. While Parton has made significant sums from her music deals — including on royalties when another artist covers one of the hits she has written, produced and performed over the decades — the endorsement deals appear to fill in the gaps between music successes.

Also, an important part of her celebrity endorsement segment is knowing what products she will and won't support or promote. Last year her team notified fans and the public that Parton had not endorsed any keto or CBD gummy products, despite some unauthorized ads using her likeness to promote products online or on social media.

“Dolly Parton is not affiliated with, has not endorsed and is not associated with any keto or CBD gummy product. She's more the cake, cookie, and cornbread type," a message on social media said, signed by Parton's team.