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The power of the celebrity

The use of celebrities in marketing is no new concept, with famous faces being used to help promote brands since the start of advertising. In the last couple of years however, the success of celebrity marketing has been questioned, particularly amongst brands targeting millennials. Thus, leaving brands with a potentially high risk and high cost decision to make: should they be using a famous face in their advertising campaigns or not? We explore some recent campaigns and research and share considerations to take when using celebrities in advertising.

There are numerous pieces of marketing research that suggests millennials don’t trust celebrity endorsements and YouGov data suggests that, only 9% of all consumers (based on a national representation) agree that celebrity endorsements influence the things they buy. Statements such as “millennials are now less likely than ever to make a purchase based on celebrity endorsement” (according to a study by Roth Capital Partners) are common, and brands are starting to respond with their marketing strategy. Kia recently unveiled their new marketing campaign during the 2019 Super Bowl, captioning their ad; “This year, we’re honouring the great unknowns. People who work hard and make incredible things. People who give it everything,” rather than paying for an expensive celebrity endorsement like they have in previous years.

Kendall Jenner announced her partnership Proactiv Skin Care, and interestingly YouGov reported “an openness to buying Proactiv increased among US millennials aged 18-34, moving from 8% to 11%” the week after the announcement.

Totally Money are also seeing the positive impact a celebrity can have on their marketing campaign. After the huge success of their first TV Ad, featuring Clive Tyldesley, they continued their celebrity commercials with TV presenter Anthea Turner, and have now announced Newsreader and journalist Michael Buerk will star; marking the third in a series that promotes the company’s Free Credit Report.

All Response Media viewpoint

The use of a celebrity isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think of a typical direct response ad, however, there are examples where a celebrity media creative has been more responsive from a visit and conversion perspective, across both online and offline media channels. Ultimately, if the celebrity is the right fit and their added value (in terms of response and acquisition) outweighs the cost of the celebrity you are onto a winner!

Things to consider when picking that ‘perfect’ celebrity to endorse your brand;

  • Does the personal brand of the celebrity align with your brand’s style and beliefs?
  • Target audience: does the celebrity directly align with your brand’s target audience and core consumer.

Authenticity of both celebrity and brand: Does the celebrity use and interact with the brand, product or service? A consumer may be initially attracted to a brand due to celebrity endorsement, but if the reality does not live up to the expectation, the consumer will not buy again.