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Do Celebrities Add Zing to the Brand Value?
So, a particular watch brand is being endorsed by your favorite celeb. You would be surely tempted to at least have a look at it. This is the kind of impact that celebs have on brands that they endorse. Does everyone get tricked by this celeb-advertising gimmick? Let’s find out.
Blame Your Shopping Addiction on Celebs!
A Dutch research team’s writing in the Journal of Economic Psychology reveals that celebrity endorsements alter brain activity, as buyers feel affectionate towards these celebs.
David Beckham was chosen as the brand ambassador of Samsung some time ago. This celebrity addition by the electronics company served as a glam quotient to their products and increased curiosity amongst fans to at least have a look at the product. This is what celebrity endorsements can do. The trend of roping in celebrities for brand endorsements has been present for a while now. This trend has become viral today with almost every second company having celeb brand ambassadors.
However, if a poor-quality or high-priced product is being endorsed by the most famous celeb, can buyers be driven to buy those products? Or are today’s buyers not easily influenced by the glam quotient and give importance to a product more than the face behind it? This MarketingWit article finds out if celebrities add value to a brand or not.
The Answer is Yes!
Celebrities are now household names due to the presence of media everywhere. Their fame not only adds to the popularity of the product but also gives it due credibility. This credibility creates faith in the product and drives buyers to purchase it. However, this glam quotient alone cannot do the trick. The product or service, in itself, should be appealing enough to grab the audience’s attention. But when it comes to adding zing, celebs definitely help in this feat.
Celebrity branding is an advertising strategy where celebrities are appointed as brand ambassadors of products or services. They promote these products, services, or charities to attract a viewer’s attention by using their “glamor quotient”. Celebrity branding has come a long way. Previously, we used to find celebrities appearing in ads for endorsing products or services. However today, the scenario has changed. We find products that are specially endorsed in the names of celebs. There are also products that are licensed in the name of celebrities. Jennifer Lopez has her own fragrance brand, JLo.
However, the concept of celebrity branding is not new. Around the 1940s, film stars used to appear in cigarette ads, innerwear ads, and so on. These celebs were looked upon as the face of the product, and this added to its brand value. The fan following that these celebs enjoy add to the customer base of the product or service, because a few loyalists will never fail to buy these products. Also, it is quite easy to send a message across to the audience, when you have famous people promoting products.
Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Overall Brand
As mentioned earlier, celebrities have a huge impact on the customer base. The attention that a particular product or service receives is immense, after a celebrity endorses it. The more the product or service receives attention, the better are the chances of its sales figures going up. There are both positive and negative impacts of celebrity endorsements on the brand value.
★Increases Brand Awareness
The first and foremost advantage of having a celebrity as brand ambassador is the amount of attention that the brand receives. The product or service may be of a very good quality and has all the ingredients that will satisfy customer wants, but the likeliness of the product standing out from the competition is very scant. Thus, to grab the necessary attention of customers, it is important to have a familiar face as the product’s ambassador. With this, more and more people become aware of the existence of the product, and this eventually increases product sales.
★ Enhances Product Credibility
When you see Emma Watson vouching for Lancôme, you will have little doubt in your mind regarding the credibility of the product. The product or service credibility is increased, once you have a popular face associated with it. Statements that are made in the ad about the features of the product are more likely to be believed, if a celebrity is endorsing it.
★ Brand Reputation
Brands that choose celebrities as their brand ambassadors are generally viewed as highly reputed ones. They are amongst the top few brands of that particular product. However, you cannot separate the reputation of a celebrity from that of the brand. If a celebrity is highly liked by the audience, the brand will definitely enjoy a similar liking.
★ Help for Social Causes
Social causes or charities are highly benefited by presence of celebs. They have an instant connection with the audience, and this connection helps in developing inquisitiveness for charitable events. This helps raise funds or gather attention towards the various charitable causes. Popularity of the celebrities helps a lot in this domain. Lady Gaga’s message–“Live with passion. Love with protection”–helped MAC AIDS Fund raise more than $202 million to support the HIV/AIDS program.
★ Vampire Effect
Many a time, the attention that a celebrity receives is much more than what the brand receives. This takes the attention away from the root cause of creating the endorsement, i.e., the product or service. This is known as the vampire effect. Celebs overpower the image of the product or service. For a successful marketing campaign, this vampire effect needs to be considered. The best example of this effect is Dawn French‘s cable association campaign. His presence made the campaign more viewable by the younger audience, while the older audience didn’t quite seem to like the idea. The celebrity image overpowered the campaign, and finally, the campaign came to an end.
★ Celebrity Trap and Overdependence
Brands generally rope in a celebrity on a contract basis for a few years. For all these years, there are little chances of major product improvements, and over a period of time, the product is dependent on the celebrity. Once the celebrity is no longer associated with the brand, it becomes really difficult for the brand to make a comeback. This brand recreation is possible only if they rope in a more popular face. The overdependence on celebs, more than the product, will backfire, in case the quality of the product is at stake. This dependence should reduce in order to maintain the identity of the brand.
The amount of money that is spent on the celebrities who endorse the products is huge. If the right celeb is not chosen for promoting a particular brand, celebrity endorsement can backfire. The investment, in this case, is so high that sometimes all the advertising budget is spent on hiring the celeb, and other effective advertising methods are hampered. Companies need to spend wisely when it comes to this aspect of advertising.
Many celebrities endorse a lot of products simultaneously. In some cases, there are celebs who were previously involved with a particular brand, and after falling out with that brand, choose to promote the rival brand. This leaves us guessing as to which brand is more credible to use? Thus, celeb loyalty is necessary to maintain faith in the endorsement.
Celebrity Selection Criteria
With many risks and gains involved in hiring a celebrity endorser, it is necessary to select the celebrities carefully. Here are some important selection criteria.
★Celebrity-Product Match: The celebrity who is endorsing the product or service should have some connection to them. Tiger Woods endorsing a jewelry brand won’t appeal to anyone and would rather end up as a disastrous match.
★Celebrity-Target Audience Match: Products that are endorsed by celebs need to appeal to the audience. Oprah Winfrey will have an impact on a certain target audience, who can identify with her image.
★ Celebrity Popularity: Celebrities who are widely known will have a huge influence on the buying pattern than the ones who are less popular.
★ Celebrity Global Reach: Brands are not confined to a particular region or country. They have a global presence and so should the celebrities who endorse them. Aishwarya Rai has a global appeal when she endorses Longines more than any other Indian actress.
★ Celebrity Credibility: The celebrities who endorse a particular brand should be trustworthy. Buyers should have enough faith in the celebs, when they wish to purchase products.
Celebrity Branding Does Backfire At Times
Despite all the good effects that celebrities have on the brand value of a product, there have been past instances where it has backfired, which has had catastrophic effects on the celeb as well as the brand.
A study carried out by Margaret C. Campbell of CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, showed that the negative traits of celebrities easily get transferred to the product. If a company hires an actress known for her strong acting and perfection of the roles she portrays for a nail polish ad, it is an imperfect celebrity-product match. In this case, if her on-screen image is of a Plain Jane, the product will never be sold! That’s the impact of celebrity persona on the brand. So, while hiring a celebrity, it is necessary to evaluate the positive and negative traits of the celeb.
The timing of the campaign should also be considered. If any controversy related to the celeb pops up, the entire campaign will suffer. This is another reason for backfiring of celebrity branding.
Let us see some of the endorsements that backfired due to poor celebrity branding.
★ Legende de Michael Jackson is a fragrance bearing the name of the late superstar. However, this didn’t work out with fans due to the lack of intimacy with him.
★ Lance Armstrong’s Nike campaign went horribly wrong when the allegations of doping were doing rounds. After being associated with the brand for such a long time, to avoid his controversy to affect the brand, Nike called it quits with him.
★ Lindsay Lohan was hired by Guthy-Renker to join the Proactiv cast for promoting their products. However, within two months of being hired, she was arrested for drug possession and drunk-driving cases.
★ In a popular case of bad celebrity branding, the Tiger Woods and Accenture tie-up came to an end after the former’s scandals were revealed to the public.
★ PepsiCo had paid $5 million to Madonna for her song, “Like a Prayer”, as the company wanted to use it for their ad campaign. But when a Catholic Bishop filed a complaint over the controversial video, the ad had to be pulled out.
Popular Celebrity Endorsements
Not all celeb endorsements backfire. Companies have their sales orders full, and the money registers keep ringing by hiring perfect celebs for their products. The public admiration of these famous faces adds to the reach and popularity of the product. Here are some celebrity-product pairs that have proved to be successful.
★ Sarah Hyland – Heart Calgon
★ Jennifer Aniston – Living Proof Satin Hair Serum
★ Emma Stone – Revlon Brilliant Strength Nail Enamel
★ Leonardo DiCaprio – TAG Heuer
★ David Beckham – Adidas
★ Robert De Niro – American Express
★ Aamir Khan – UNICEF
★ Jennifer Lopez – L’Oréal
★ Ashton Kutcher – Nikon
★ Katy Perry – Popchips
Celebrity endorsements have always been a subject of debate among the marketers. But, due to the glam quotient and appeal of these celebrities, they are roped in as brand ambassadors. Celebrities do enhance the brand awareness and popularity of the brands, but no celeb will be able to do wonders if the product lacks the quality and appeal.