Celebrity endorsements are everywhere—they’re on the radio, in magazines, and on TV. No matter where you turn, there’s a celebrity staring you down, daring you to try their product. “Use Aveeno!” says Jennifer Aniston. “Buy a Nikon!” says Ashton Kutcher. “Order from Pizza Hut!” says Blake Shelton, “because I said so, and I’m a celebrity.” No, really, he actually says that. Why? Because celebrity endorsements work, and big businesses are starting to catch on. But they work in more ways than one, and despite Blake Shelton’s claim that we should order from Pizza Hut “because he says so, and he’s a celebrity,” it’s not so much their endorsement that we care about—but the power of association that comes with it.
Think about it; if you can put a face to a name, you’re much more likely to remember it. Well, the same goes for marketing—but in this case, the odds of a potential client remembering a brand name are much more likely if the brand name uses a famous face. In fact, a recent study showed that sales for celebrity endorsed brands increased by an average of 20% after the endorsement. This happens for a number of reasons:
1. Celebrities stand out. The average consumer sees more than 3,000 ads per day. Of those 3,000 ads, our subconscious absorbs less than 200…and roughly 30 actually make it into our conscious mind. A celebrity endorsement not only enables the ad to stand out among the rest (people are more likely to pay attention to a celeb than they are a randomized spokesperson—no matter how model-esque), but it drastically increases the likelihood of the brand reaching the conscious mind of the consumer.
2. Celebrities have the power to make people believe that their product contributed to their celebrity status. According to Aveeno, Jennifer Aniston’s flawless face is all thanks to their line of natural lotions—and has nothing to do with the team of beauticians she’s been employing since her super-star debut in 1994. Even better, Mobile One’s use of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart inspires the idea that Motor One oil contributes to his car’s performance—and, of course, his success.
3. Celebrities can spur memories. And not just with their faces. Anytime you hear Dennis Haysbert’s deep, booming voice, you likely associate him with Allstate—even when he’s in the midst of trying to stop the latest terrorist attack on the hit TV show, 24. And let’s be honest, every time you see Hallie Eisenberg in Bicentennial Man, don’t you want to reach for a Pepsi? Celebrities not only increase the likelihood of prospective clients remembering the brand name, but those ads will probably come to mind the next time they see that celeb on the big screen.
Sounds like a win/win situation, am I right? In truth, it is, as long as the endorsement is treated more like a marriage (in which both parties contribute) and less like…well, a celebrity marriage—which can end as abruptly (and as ugly) as it started. Of course, when it comes to celebrity endorsements, there’s always a bit of risk involved. For one; celebrities are humans, and they have the potential to make mistakes. Big, big mistakes. And for two, they might just end up overshadowing the brand. Depending on the product, consumers could focus entirely on the celebrity and forget all about the product itself. But when done the right way, celebrity endorsements are a surefire way to supercharge your advertising. There’s just one question; do fictional celebrities count? Because I know one guy who would love to have Iron Man represent his company…
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