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.

AnonymousCoward's picture
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Dabitch's picture

I wonder about that Cindy cameo as well, perhaps just a pepsi nod to Cindy ads of the past (where there was a reason she starred, playing the role of the all american beautiful babe she does so well). The Fab Five guy gawking after the Pepsi man is a joke that works without a celeb gay fella as well.. Though I suppose it is funnier when you know the guy from TV, maybe.

Watching telly here I'm cracking up over those Gilette ads with Beckham in them, not because he must have had a crash course in how to shave like that for the camera - he pulls off the standard swipe off the chin shave that all shaving ad models do very well - but because it looks like he's wearing baguette cut "diamond"* cufflinks in his ear. They're huge whatever they are. Perhaps he bought them for the

James_Trickery's picture

Could it be that we are getting sick of celebs due to the oversaturation of them cashing in on their celeb status? Like those want to smell like a celebrity perfume ads you posted earlier, celebs are not only shilling everyone elses product but all sorts of things in their own name as well. Clothing lines, perfumes, shoes, handbags. We were bound to get sick of it sometime.