We see Celebrities splashed on the front page of magazines, thriving on twitter, posting on Facebook and being grilled on late night talk shows. It’s true they are fascinating, but there is value in ‘Celebrity’ status that goes far beyond simply entertaining people. Using a celebrity for Advertising, PR or Marketing campaigns can be a powerful strategic step in influencing consumers for companies and organizations to help distinguish their brand from the rest.
It is no secret that celebrities are some of the most powerful influencers in today’s society. The authority they hold over the masses is so powerful that it can dictate what people wear, where people eat, or what causes they support. Our society wants to be them. And when we can’t, we want to be LIKE them.
The Von Dutch brand went from a niche t-shirt and hat line to a full-scale multi-million dollar international fashion collection once Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were regularly photographed wearing the Von Dutch trucker hat.
The Product Red campaign, benefiting The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria would have barely gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for U2 front man Bono leading the charge. Today, a quarter of all international funding for HIV/AIDS-related programs, over half for tuberculosis, and almost three-quarters for malaria worldwide comes from The Global Fund!
Not only do Celebrities influence what we buy but they can influence our culture, thought and expression. It’s like having someone who you respect and admire tapping you on the shoulder and recommending something. Chances are that at minimum you will pay attention…and likely you will also follow suit.
Before the 1960s, people didn’t order Vodka Martinis. But then along came Sean Connery as James Bond who in the film “Goldfinger” first utters the words “Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred.” Today, vodka martinis are the norm and considered a conservative mainstream drink.
It is no wonder that companies team up with celebrities to grow their reach and get their product on the latest ‘hot list’. Since Celebrities can dictate what is ‘cool’ or ‘in’, having a Celebrity’s endorsement can give credibility to your brand. However, today’s consumers are more skeptical and mistrusting than in years past. In order for a celebrity endorsement to be taken seriously, and therefore have influence, the connection needs to be perceived as credible and authentic.
Authenticity can come from the celebrity being known to really enjoy and regularly use a product or brand. Or perhaps there’s a cultural or geographical tie. Perceived core values of a celebrity and their lifestyle can also lead to a credible connect with the brand’s core demographic audience, or disconnect if the match is not right.
Celebrity life experiences with triumph and tragedy, success and failure, happiness and sadness, health and illness are elements which often tie a celebrity to an issue, cause, concern or charity. But it’s these experiences which can also make a celebrity a perfect match for a product or brand.
Celebrities can and do provide so much more than entertainment value if you know how to utilize them. But choosing the right one and getting their attention to say “yes” sets up an entirely new set of challenges. To be continued in a future blog…