Purpose: This paper aims at shedding some light on the various avenues marketers can undertake until finally an endorsement contract is signed. The focus of the study lies on verifying the generally held assumption that endorser selection is usually taken care of by creative agencies, vetting several candidates by means of subtle evaluation procedures. Design/methodology/approach: A case study research has been carried out among companies experienced in celebrity endorsements to learn more about the endorser selection process in practise. Based on these cases theory is inductively developed. Findings: The research suggests that the generally held assumption that endorsers being selected and thoroughly vetted by a creative agency may not be universally valid. A normative model to illustrate the continuum of the selection process in practise is suggested and the two polar case studies (Swiss brand Lindt and Austrian Vitatherm) are presented in depth. Research limitations/implications: As the results of the study suggest, generally held assumptions towards the endorser selection process may be challenged. Consequently, this affects the necessary accuracy of models to evaluate the brand-endorser matchup. Practical implications: Conducted case studies indicate that there are various avenues how brands come to their endorser. This paper could not find evidence of a best practice strategy. Originality/value: A normative model for the celebrity endorser selection process is suggested.