Celebrity Overload?

The Independent reports on consumers' feelings towards celebrities trying to influence their buying. Apparently research is starting to show that the red-carpet walkers aren't making much of a dent in consumer consumption. Mintel, a British market research company, did a survey and found "three out of five adults are 'bored with celebrities' and a further one in five is 'celebrity resistant'." It's rather amusing too if you think about the number of ads in the Super Bowl this year that banked on celebrities in their spots. A majority of them could have saved a bunch of money and just hired any random actor to achieve the same effect.

But for some reason there is a feeling that using a big name will bring big sales. Maybe one upon a time it was, but it's just not true anymore. Along with that you now have celebs like Beckham and Michael Jordan who shill a increasingly long list of products and companies. Why should consumers think that Beckham really does use Gillette or any of the other products he sells? And it definitely doesn't help a brand to pick the same celebrities that are in a plethora of ads for different brands. How do you stand out if viewers can't tell if a celeb like Michael Jordan is selling batteries or hotdogs? They just remember seeing Jordan in the ad. Heck, maybe it was an ad for Hanes.

Another example would be the Diet Pepsi's "Guy Watcher" spot from the Super Bowl this year. Why did they bother paying Cindy Crawford to be in that spot? You see her for maybe 1.5 seconds. It would have been just as effective as spot if you had put some other random actress or unknown model in her place. Maybe Pepsi likes to throw money away, who knows.

When it comes to using celebrities in ads, it's important to remember to use who makes the most sense for the concept and the brand, not to just throw in some celebrity for the sake of doing so. If the celebrity works with the concept, then great. But it seems so many marketers/ad agencies/clients just want to work with which ever famous person they like and just build a campaign around that, using it more as an opportunity to meet someone famous rather than actually create a piece of communication. Considering the fees involved in getting celebrities to shill, it seems like an awful waste of money when the concern is all about shoehorning the famous person in to an ad rather than focusing on the concept and communication of information.

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caffeinegoddess I'm a creative director and copywriter with digital, integrated, and traditional expertise. I love sound strategy and great executions.