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Do Celebrity Endorsements and Ads Work?

There’s a lot of ads featuring celebrity endorsers and undoubtedly these celebs are paid a lot of money (I’m looking at you, Lance Armstrong), so those ads must work, right?

Wrong! According to Peter Daboll of AdvertisingAge, having celebrity endorsements do not pay:

Over the course of last year, time and time again we observed incredibly low effectiveness scores of TV ads starring celebrities. From Tiger Woods to Donald Trump, we found that with rare exception, celebrity endorsements were largely ineffective and failed to yield the benefits popular wisdom promises.

Why? Peter blames the changing consumers, though I suspect that the ad makers relied so heavily on the star power of the celebrity that they either neglect to actually make good ads or no longer have enough funds to do so:

Were celebrities losing their pizazz in influencing consumers? Had the age of social media and consumer control ushered in a new consumer that is not as easily won over by a famous face?

In fact, yes. Today’s consumer is a totally different animal than the consumer of even five years ago, meaning that what was effective and influential five years ago is not necessarily so today, as today’s consumer is more likely to be influenced by someone in their social network than a weak celebrity connection. Today’s consumer is informed, time-compressed, and difficult to impress, and they are only influenced by ads that are relevant and provide information. They don’t want to have products pushed at them, even from a celebrity. In fact, the data show that relevance and information attributes were key missing ingredients from most celebrity ads.

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